Teacher Appreciation Week: Gryffindor House

May 12, 2018

Posted by: Amanda Kirk

Education, Fun

As we wind up Teacher Appreciation Week with a tip of a pointed witch’s hat to Professor Minerva McGonagall, head of Gryffindor House, we should remind ourselves that every week should be teacher appreciation week.  Without great teachers, you could not read this post, nor acquire basic knowledge in maths, the sciences, languages, history, charms, potions, not to mention transfiguration, that you need in daily life and work.  Those who teach us don’t always have a formal role as our classroom teachers—Harry learned a lot from Dumbledore outside of a classroom—but whether you want to apparate, knit, or whip up a sleeping draught, you need a guide to developing that skill.

MinervaMcGonagall_WB_F3_McGonagallWithHandOnHarrysShoulder_Still_0806115_LandTeachers can come in many forms—Harry himself became an excellent teacher to his peers in Dumbledore’s Army—and all are worthy of our appreciation and thanks.As head of Gryffindor House, Professor McGonagall played an in loco parentis role to her students as well as teaching them transfiguration.  This was just as well for Harry, who was always searching for parental figures in his life because his own parents were dead, although he didn’t always enjoy it, such as in his third year when McGonagall did not let him visit Hogsmeade with his friends.


Like Harry, McGonagall was considered half-blood:  Her father was a Scottish Presbyterian minister, her mother a witch.  She grew up hating discrimination against either Muggles or magic folk, and she fought in the First Wizarding War as well as the Battle of Hogwarts.  She was famously a hatstall, like her fellow teacher Professor Flitwick, with the Sorting Hat debating between Ravenclaw and Gryffindor for each of them.  McGonagall was not short on wit and wisdom, nor Flitwick on bravery, so I can see why the Sorting Hat was indecisive.

McGonagall excelled as a student long before she became a teacher.  She played Quidditch for Gryffindor, was a Prefect and Head Girl, received top marks in her O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s, and showed particular talent in transfiguration, becoming only the 7th registered animagus in the 20th century.  After working at the Ministry, she accepted Dumbledore’s offer to teach at Hogwarts, eventually ascending to the position of Headmistress.

Minerva-McGonagallTough but fair, demanding but empathetic, scathing but never hurtful, Professor McGonagall was the embodiment of the best qualities in a teacher.  She expected her students to work hard, pay attention, be on time, practice self-discipline, and her high standards brought out the best in her pupils.  She wasn’t warm and fuzzy but she expressed strong emotions when it was appropriate, such as cheering Gryffindor’s victories and cursing Slytherin’s cheating at Quidditch matches, and nearly fainting from shock and relief when Harry and Ron returned from the Chamber of Secrets with Ginny.  She was hard on Harry, docking points from her own house for his infractions, but she was also his firm supporter, and unwaveringly loyal to Dumbledore.  When Harry returned to Hogwarts to destroy the horcruxes, he told McGonagall of Dumbledore’s instructions and his plans, and she led the defence of the castle against Voldemort and his Death Eaters.  She later received the Order of Merlin, First Class, for her bravery.

3-10We’ve reached the end of Teacher Appreciation Week, but not of teacher appreciation.  Go bake some cauldron cakes for your favourite educator.  And be sure to join the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge.

You can read Leaky’s Teacher Appreciation Week posts for Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin by following the hyperlinks.

Who’s your favourite wizarding world teacher?  Tell us in the comments.

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.