– All Men of Genius by Lev AC Rosen
One time I nearly called one of my college teachers “Professor River Song” because I completely blanked on their name and River was the only professor I could think of. Oh, the perils of being a geek.
But it’s not like that was a regular occurrence. I mean, why would I associate people with Doctor Who characters? Especially when all my college professors have reminded me of various teachers from Harry Potter?
I’m not kidding. This is a thing I do. I don’t know when it started – maybe last summer – but I began thinking that so-and-so would probably be great friends with [insert Hogwarts professor here] and whatnot. It’s fun, and I am nowhere close to running out of Hogwarts professors to “cast” people as, because I haven’t had as many teachers as most students my age have: just my mom, plus six professors.
So, for no reason at all, I thought I’d describe my teachers and why they remind me of certain characters in the magical world of Harry Potter.
I. Rubeus Hagrid
Looking back on it, I could not have asked for a better first professor than the man I will refer to as Mr. K, my Spanish 101 professor. (I’ll refer to everyone by their initials in case I write anything weird about them, which I probably will.) I took his class during the fall semester of 2012 and I wasn’t actually that nervous about attending college as a high school sophomore, but it did help that Mr. K was nice.
Mostly ordinary. Fairly laid-back. Friendly. Helpful. For all these reasons I decided he was most like Hagrid – slightly eccentric (man, he wore weird, psychedelic paisley-print shirts) but decent (I never felt like he would be annoyed if I asked him for help). There isn’t really a lot to say about him.
Except for one thing, one thing that made me giggle and decide that yes, he was definitely Hagrid. One day he did show up to class half an hour late, evidently astonished to see that only about four students (out of a class of twenty), including myself, were there. “Why did everyone leave? Isn’t class always at this time? How long has it been at that other time?!”
Well, I don’t know. Only, like, the whole semester. Anyway, it was exactly the kind of somewhat befuddled thing Hagrid would do.
II. Gilderoy Lockhart
Ms. M, my Spanish 102 professor during the spring semester of 2013, is the only one of my teachers who doesn’t easily fit the personality of one Hogwarts professor. I feel a little rude, proclaiming her to be Lockhart, because she actually was a competent teacher.
But she also had a fondness for stories. Cool stories, stories about growing up in Mexico. I certainly learned a lot about culture that semester, but that wasn’t really what I was there for. She always ended up fitting the new vocabulary at the very end of each lesson because she’d spent too much time off on some tangent.
As I said before, Ms. M wasn’t totally Lockhart. Every so often an entire half-class would pass and she would actually stay on track, teaching us about the subjunctive or whatever. But mostly, I remember a lot of tales about, “how I visited this tiny town in Mexico and learned never to confuse these two Spanish words because when I did it was really, really embarrassing.”
III. Remus Lupin
High praise, indeed. Lupin is my favorite Hogwarts professor – my favorite character in the series and one of my favorites from any book ever – and I’m very lucky to have had a teacher like him. Ms. L (can you tell I’m not basing this teacher-sorting on gender?) taught the English 101 class I attended last summer and it was awesome.
Harry says Lupin was the most competent teacher he ever had and that’s how I feel about Ms. L. She was smart, good at explaining things (good at making us laugh!), et cetera. And when I had questions about college writing programs for when I attend a university full-time, she gave me tons and tons of suggestions and ideas, even though it wasn’t her job or anything. I’m considering some of those colleges now, so that was very helpful. As with Hagrid, there really isn’t a lot to say. She just knew what she was doing.
IV. Minerva McGonagall
Ms. T, my second-favorite professor after Ms. L, taught Chemistry 111 last fall. McGonagall was described as “strict but fair” and that fits Ms. T to a, well, T. (Pun not intended. I swear. I am so sorry about that.) She taught a lot of material each day in class and assigned a lot of homework (at least it felt that way to me!) but she also made sure that we had multiple opportunities to learn the concepts – there were always extra-instruction hours, and she answered lots of questions before and after class.
So basically, she wasn’t nearly as weird as some of my other professors have been, but I would rather have a teacher who taught me a lot than one who is the subject of many amusing stories.
V. Dolores Umbridge
Yeah. Unfortunately, I have had one of those teachers. These next few paragraphs will prove very satisfying to write, won’t they?
Mr. S taught English 102, the other college class I attended last fall. He was – there is no other way to put it – an unpleasant man. Like Umbridge, he was very fond of rules. Turn in an in-class response to a reading from the textbook literally two seconds too late because you remembered at the last second to write your name at the top of it? Too bad. You failed that assignment. Thank goodness it didn’t happen to me, but I felt annoyed anyway. It’s like… dude, you couldn’t even just say, “I’ll accept it this time, but you need to be more diligent next time”?
The other thing was that Mr. S was extremely unhelpful. We spent four or five class sessions reviewing MLA style, even though we all had practice with it from a previous class or something. We barely even looked at APA, which stunk because at least half the class said they had little to no experience with it and we had a huge paper due that had to be formatted in APA style. Oh, and forget about asking him questions after class. I tried several times and it was clear it just irritated him. Whatever. It’s not like I ever have to take another class with him.
VI. Alastor Moody
Currently, I take Chemistry 112, taught by Mr. B. I suppose he is my greatest source of weird college stories to date.
He has a tendency to get really excited about whatever he’s teaching us – oxidation and reduction reactions, organic chemistry, et cetera – and start SHOUTING AT US, YELLING ABOUT THE CONCEPTS BECAUSE HE’S JUST SO EXCITED AND ALSO HE WANTS US TO KNOW THAT THIS SUBJECT IS IMPORTANT! YOU MUST HAVE CONSTANT VIGILANCE OR THIS EQUATION WILL NOT BALANCE PROPERLY!
Oh, and he has a lot of weird stories about how he spilled some chemical on himself whilst in the lab and therefore turned his skin a weird color. This reminds me of Moody’s accidents…
What sort of teachers have you had? Were there any who reminded you of Hogwarts professors? Any who were like Snape or Umbridge?