harry potter - Has Rowling ever expressed her opinion on whether Snape is a good teacher or not?

I realise it can be quite a speculative subject, but I believe JKR herself must have had some distinct image of Snape's teaching role in Hogwarts.

Evidences seem to be contradictive though.

We know Snape became a teacher to be close to Dumbledore, not because he wanted to teach. On the other hand, from the first year he asked the post of DADA teacher, meaning he actually was interested in teaching activity in general.

He is definitely a bullying, unjust and discouraging - not a good teacher's features exactly. But at the same time he pays a lot of attention to every student (even if negative), cares about all the details in class and seems to be interested in passing his knowledge of a subject to the fullest.

I would personally emphasise the Occlumency lessons. In my opinion Snape was surprisingly patient considering the circumstances and Harry's behaviour.

So has JKR ever said anything on Snape's competency as a teacher?

1 Answer

  1. Marcy- Reply

    2019-11-14

    Setting aside Snape's treatment of Harry, I'd say he was generally a good teacher, yes.

    For starters, he was actually competent in the stuff he taught. In The Prisoner of Azkhaban, Lupin testifies to Snape's proficiency with potions:

    'Professor Snape has very kindly concocted a potion for me,' he said. 'I have never been much of a potion-brewer, and this one is particularly complex. [...] there aren't many wizards who are up to making it.' (Speaking of the wolfsbane potion.)

    Snape's own Potions schoolbook (Halfblood Prince) is further evidence.

    Compared to Trelawney, or Umbridge, or Lockhart, basic competence in the subject being taught is not to be taken lightly.

    Then, right from the start, we are told that Snape is a good orator:

    He spoke in barely more than a whisper, but they caught every word - like Professor McGonagall, Snape had the gift of keeping a class silent without effort. (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, chapter 8)

    For all that he'd prefer to teach DADA, he is passionate about his subject, and wishes to teach, pass that passion onwards:

    I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death (ibid)

    And, unlike, say, Hagrid, he organises the material easy first, advanced later:

    Snape put them all into pairs and set them to mixing up a simple potion to cure boils (ibid).

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