During the years of the Harry potter books, there were no less than seven different Defense Against the Dark Arts professors at Hogwarts – and a rumor that the post had been cursed by Voldemort himself. It seems clear to fans that Lupine was the best of the bunch, and there was a couple vying for the worst: Mad-Eye Moody was actually Barty Crouch, trying to deliver Harry to Voldemort to be killed, and Quirrell had the Dark Lord on the back of his head all the time! But what about the others?
Fans don’t hear too much about Amycus Carrow, as Harry wasn’t in school while he was teaching, and Snape was … well, Snape. But between the devious Lockhart and the odious Umbridge, who was the worst DADA teacher in the wizarding world?
- 1 ten Both: hated by other teachers
- 2 9 Umbridge: was insanely paranoid
- 3 8 Lockhart: exploited the post for financial gain
- 4 7 Shading: exploited the post for personal gain
- 5 6 Lockhart: was going to kill students
- 6 5 Umbridge: refused to actually teach the subject
- 7 4 Lockhart: self-obsessed (and didn’t care)
- 8 3 Umbridge: expanded to the role of High Inquisitor
- 9 2 Lockhart: knew nothing about the subject
- 10 1 Umbridge: students tortured
ten Both: hated by other teachers
Lockhart and Umbridge were absolutely hated by other teachers – and that says a lot. For the most part, the professors at Hogwarts seem to get along, and even those who may not be incredibly close are still respectful of each other. However, Lockhart was so useless and Umbridge so wicked that the other teachers actively rooted against them and sabotaged them. Hilarious to read, but terrible to be a student.
9 Umbridge: was insanely paranoid
Umbridge, in many places, seemed seriously disturbed, even disturbed. She was cruel and vicious, but she also had a level of paranoia which was quite frightening at times. This was obviously compounded by the Minister of Magic’s paranoia and his encouragement of Umbridge’s own fears, but it is disturbing to think that children are being taught by someone whose understanding of reality was so tenuous.
8 Lockhart: exploited the post for financial gain
The first that anyone hears about Lockhart’s assignment to the job is the Book of the Year List. He gave away the bulk of his collection – which is an impressive number of books, none of which are particularly cheap.
There is no mention of the price of each, but at least one equals five galleons, and he obviously made a lot of money by requiring every Hogwarts student to buy every book. It’s quite odious that he did this, but since not all families were rich, it filled its own pockets at the expense of others, for no other reason than its own profit.
7 Shading: exploited the post for personal gain
Lockhart may have taken the job for fame and money, but Umbridge also had her reasons for coming to Hogwarts – and hers were mostly to further her career. She wanted to prove her loyalty to the Ministry of Magic, and by accepting this position, she was able to advance to higher positions in the ministry and gain more power. She had no interest in teaching, only in achieving her own goals.
6 Lockhart: was going to kill students
First, Lockhart had planned to run, having learned that he would be expected to actually defend the school against the dark forces, not just waving his books around in a classroom – a coward act in itself. However, when he was forced into Hogwarts pipes with Ron and Harry, he actually intended to murder them both and then escape with his own life. When it comes to teaching what not to do, murdering students to save your skin is clearly at the top of the list.
5 Umbridge: refused to actually teach the subject
Another pretty huge problem for a teacher is the refusal to actually teach – which was one of the biggest flaws in Umbridge’s lesson plan, and led quite directly to the formation of Dumbledore’s army.
Instead of teaching the students magic, she just asked them to sit down and read their textbooks, all the lessons, all the lessons. She even claimed that it would be enough to pass the exams, when challenged, when it obviously would not.
4 Lockhart: self-obsessed (and didn’t care)
Lockhart’s most obvious negative trait is his vanity – he was absolutely obsessed with his own fame, his own fans, and how wonderful he thought he was. It’s just boring, but more than that it leads to problems when he would become so obsessed with himself that it would distract him from teaching (like when he was putting a class test on himself, asking questions as relevant as their favorite color), or to listen to students. Every time he saw Harry he misunderstood what was going on and would make it worse with his narcissistic assumptions.
3 Umbridge: expanded to the role of High Inquisitor
It’s hard to separate Umbridge’s role as Defense Against the Dark Arts professor from her role as Grand Inquisitor – a position created for her that has led to all kinds of horrible things at Hogwarts. It’s also hard to imagine that it didn’t take time and energy to actually teach her, especially since she had to spend time in all the other classes to “assess” them. Of course, just telling students to read a book doesn’t have to require a lot of lesson planning.
2 Lockhart: knew nothing about the subject
Lockhart’s big secret was, of course, that he actually had no idea how to defend himself against the forces of evil. He had no experience and was only good at memory charms, which he used to steal stories from able wizards and wizards and then pass them off as his own. To be a good teacher, knowing something about the subject is quite important!
1 Umbridge: students tortured
Of course, everything else is paltry compared to how Umbridge literally tortured students – and seemed to take perverse pleasure in doing so. She had the students write lines using a special quill that etched the words into the skin and used their own blood as ink (which is as painful as it sounds), and she also used Veritaserum without their knowledge. No matter how incapable or vain Lockhart was, and his will to kill, he wasn’t quite that evil.
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