|The Instructor Becomes the Instructed
Author: Smorefan PM
The soon-to-be sixth years are assigned an essay for their summer homework. What happens when McGonagall asks Dumbledore to read one of the essays? One-ShotRated: Fiction K+ - English - Humor - Albus D. - Words: 3,404 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 7 - Follows: 2 - Published: 03-15-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4132103
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: This is a one shot that came to me while reading a story somewhere, sorry I can't remember the name of it. The line was 'the instrutor became the instructed'. So, enjoy my little fic, and please review! Btw, I don't own Harry Potter! (Thought I should through that in somewhere.)
Because the results of your O.W.L.s will determine your up and coming classes, your summer homework is to write an essay on the fallowing topic to be turned into your head of house on the first day of classes. This essay is due by 11 am, if you have not turned it in by then, you will forfeit all credit and face disciplinary actions. There will not be an assigned length for this essay. It is assumed that by now in your education you can be trusted to determine the appropriate length of an essay based on the needed information and writing style. This should be written with thought and will be graded.
Prof. Minerva McGonagall, Deputy Headmistress
Topic: Looking back on your education here at Hogwarts, what lessons have taught you the most and why?
By Harry Potter
'Looking back on your education here at Hogwarts, what lessons have taught you the most and why?'
Professor McGonagall, Before I begin this essay I wish to tell you that what I have to say, is not what you probably expected from this essay. However, I think that this can tell you what I have learned over the last five years better then analyzing each of my classes. If this means that I fail this essay for not responding in the way that it was intended I take full responsibility. HP
Over my last five years here at Hogwarts I have learned more then can ever be expressed on mere parchment. But to really tell you how much I have learned and grown, do you not first need to know how I started? Is there not a benchmark needed to measure progress from? I believe so. I have been told that my beginning was not normal, or average, but it is mine none the less and so you will hear it directly from the source.
I was born on July 31, 1980 to Lily and James Potter and made the godson of Sirius Black. For a reason unknown to the majority of the wizarding world Tom Marvolo Riddle (also known as Lord Voldemort, the Dark Lord, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, or You-Know-Who) decided that I, an innocent baby, was a threat to him. So, when I was fifteen months old he came to the house where my parents and I were living to kill me. Instead, he killed both of my parents and then his body was destroyed as the killing curse meant for me rebounded on him; leaving me with nothing but a scar. This one event is the only memory I have of my parents, and one it would take ten years for me to properly understand. After the death of my parents I was sent to live with my Aunt Petunia, my mother's sister, and her husband Vernon Dursley. They also had a son Dudley, who is just a few weeks older then me. There I spent the next ten years, in the cupboard under the stairs.
There my learning began. The first thing I remember specifically learning was the number one rule the Dursley's gave me, "don't ask questions". This was a difficult lesson to learn, as with most children I was curious about the world around me, how things worked and 'why'. But, unlike most children I did not have parents to answer these questions, in fact I didn't have parents; a fact that bothered me greatly growing up. While living at the Dursley's the only thing I was ever told about my parents was that they died in a car crash and that my "horrid scar" was a product of that crash.
The first thing I learned independently at the Dursleys was one simple statement that can explain everything that has happened under that roof. The Dursley's hate me. That was why I lived in the cupboard under the stairs and why Dudley had two bedrooms. That was why I learned to cook when I was six years old, and why my cousin looked like he had eaten a six year old. That was why I did the cooking, the cleaning, and the gardening while Dudley did…nothing. That was why Dudley could eat anything in sight, and I was often not allowed to eat at all. That was why Dudley got anything he wanted when he got hurt or threw a temper tantrum, and why I was left to fend for my self no matter the injury. That was why I was hit and Dudley wasn't. That was why I was the "Freak" and Dudley wasn't. That was why Dudley had friends, and I did not. That was why Dudley was allowed to go "Harry Hunting". That was why the "m-word" (magic) was forbidden. That was why I was more like a house-elf then family to the Dursleys. It took me ten years to figure out why the Dursley's hated me so much, it took Hagrid giving me my Hogwarts letter in that small hut on a rock. They hated me because I am a wizard, or a "Freak" in their words.
At the Dursleys I learned many things, the least of which was how to cook, clean, tend a garden, and paint a fence. I learned that I could not trust adults. That I had to take care of my self, be self-reliant in every way possible. And perhaps most of all, I learned that it was far better to be average then to be anything that stood out. That "normal" was best. So, my benchmark, what I was to improve upon had nothing to do with magic, as it was a foreign concept to me at eleven years old. My only goal in deciding to come to Hogwarts six years ago, was to find a place to belong, I wanted to learn to be normal by someone's standards.
Since then, I have survived five years at Hogwarts. Each of those five years was an adventure in and of itself, from each of them I learned things that will stay with me for the rest of my life. "What exactly do you believe you have learned then Potter?" Well, why don't I tell you…
In my first year I learned that a school was no place to keep a three headed dog, no matter if that corridor was off limits. Because four first year Gryffindors running from Filch, after being challenged to a midnight duel with a Slytherin, are bound to run in to the end of that corridor with the locked door. And the smart witch who had memorized all of her school books is bound to remember the unlocking charm to open that door. I learned that battling a fully grown mountain troll with your best friend, and the girl your best friend had made cry earlier that day, truly is a bonding experience that will form life-long friendships. While visiting my very first friend, I learned that Hagrid tends to give his pets very…untrue names. As can be shown when Fang jumped onto my lap and proceeded to drool there for half an hour.
On the Quidditch front, I learned that standing up for a friend, against your rival; even if it is your first time a broom, can get you placed as Gryffindor seeker if you catch a remembrawl after a fifty foot dive (Thanks go to Malfoy!). I also learned that, at eleven, my Nimbus 2000 was taller then me, but man could it fly! Throughout that year I learned that it is infinitely harder to curse your friends then your enemies, that Chocolate frog cards can be very educational; that Nicholas Flamel is the only known maker of the Sorcerer's Stone, but the only places you can find that information in the library is on a Chocolate frog card or in 'Hogwarts…A History'. I learned about my friends and myself that year. I learned that a game of chess really can be a life and death situation, and if I am in such a situation, Ron Weasley is the only one I want by my side. I learned that Devil's Snare hates sun light, and has a REALLY strong grip. That given a choice of unlabeled potions, Hermione Granger will be the one to understand the clue and find the potion that allows you to literally walk through the fire. I learned that Neville Longbottom will stand up for whatever he believes is right, even against his friends. But most of all in my first year at Hogwarts I learned that my heart's desire was a family, that love can kill and that good intentions sometimes actually are all you need.
Going into the next four years I had at Hogwarts, I already had the friends I had dreamed of growing up…and throughout the trials that have occurred since then I knew that I would at least have them. My second, third, and forth years were very busy, and also fairly well known by the school at large. In those four years I learned a lot more then just how to turn a rat into a water goblet. I learned that I am a Parselmouth, which while very useful, is not a very popular gift to have. I learned that you should never trust something if you can not see where it keeps its brain. House-elves can be very dangerous to both you and others when trying to protect you. That a basilisk's gaze will kill if you look it in the eye, but will only petrify you if seen indirectly. I learned that a twelve year old can in fact defeat a thousand year old basilisk if given the proper motivation and a sword. Phoenix tears will stop basilisk venom from killing you. The dungeons are not in fact the lowest part of the school, and that when performing an illegal memory charm on your students…make sure the stolen wand wasn't broken by the womping willow.
Werewolves are not all bad, and can in fact make the best Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers. That not everything is as it appears, so do not trust a twelve year old house rat. Everyone deserves a fair trial, no matter how guilty they appear, and that just because a hippogriff hurt someone does not mean that it did not have every right to. Not all animagi are registered, but of those few, not all of them learned to transform because they were best friends with a werewolf. An escaped convicted murderer can in fact make the best Godfather, and hexing a teacher (while not recommended) can in fact be necessary. Time travel can be very dangerous, weird to experience, and painful if your best friend throws stones at your past self's head.
I learned that new Defense teachers who show you the unforgivable curses on the first day of class should be checked for polyjuice potion. That if you are entered into a deadly competition meant for much older students, someone is in fact trying to kill you; or at the very least trying to give you over to Voldemort to kill himself. When fighting a dragon, definitely play to your strengths. Dragon fire does indeed melt Quidditch uniforms. Sometimes friends get jealous of you. I learned that if a golden egg emits noises that sound like shrieks, dropping it in water can be a very…clarifying experience. Bullied ghosts that you are nice to, will attempt to help you, that…and spy on you while taking a bath. Gillieweed is a godsend, and will allow you to breath underwater. Staying at the bottom of a lake while in competition just because you don't want to leave the other three people floating there, is not in fact stupidity like your friends would suggest, but in fact shows "moral fiber". I learned that being fair in a competition and going for a tie can get an innocent boy killed when Voldemort had the cup made into a portkey. That Voldemort is horrendously ugly, and vindictive. Dueling with brother wands will create a prior incantartem effect, and it is possible to survive for nine months in a magical trunk.
This last year, my fifth here, I learned that Defense teachers hired by the Ministry are not good news for Hogwarts. Telling the truth can land you in weeks of detention. Blood quills are evil and should be outlawed if they are not already. Having 'I will not tell lies' carved into your hand for hours each day for weeks on end will not only give you a scar, but will also push you to go to great lengths to defy the woman who made you do it. Banning three Quidditch players from playing will not help your popularity with the majority of the school. Students do in fact want to learn, and will even join an illegal defense club to do so. Not every teacher who hates me is in fact evil. I learned that my father and Godfather were in fact bullies, that thestrals can find the Ministry of Magic; that true friends will not let you go off on a dangerous mission alone, and that there is a reason Professor Dumbledore is the only one Voldemort ever feared. I also learned that there is a very big difference between knowing your Godfather would die for you, and watching him die for you.
So, there you have it. What I have learned while at Hogwarts. In my mind these are the most important things I have learned while here. Of course, things like knowing that adding powered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood will give you the Draught of Living Death, is important. And by writing this essay, I do not mean to imply that I think what I have learned in class is unimportant. I just mean to convey that while what I have learned in class is important, what I have learned outside of the classroom has left a far larger impact on my life. For I will only be at Hogwarts for two more years, after that I will be moving on into something unknown. And in that unknown, it is not if I can remember which goblin led the 3rd battalion in the battle of Krastagenonsow in the 14th goblin war, that will be important; but rather what I have learned about friendship, and the power of love.
I have come to realize over the last five years, that Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has not sought to teach me lessons that I have been forced to learn, but rather what lessons in my life I can learn from. So, if you wanted to know what class I learned from most, I will not tell you and have therefore failed in this lesson. But to me, this is not what I have learned most about while here. The most important thing I have learned about in the last five years is love. The power of love in so many of its forms, love between parents and their children, love between friends, and the love a person has for their pets. Love at its glorious highs, and at its most painful lows. Love so magnificent it feels as if your heart can not hold it all in, and so painful that it feels as if it is tearing a whole in your heart.
Before coming to Hogwarts I had only a single memory of that love, and now only six years later I am infinitely more familiar with the force, not that I understand it much more then I did six years ago…but I know it. Love, in my mind, is the most important type of power on this earth…and the most important to learn from. In conclusion, I did not write the essay you were probably expecting; but that is because Hogwarts has taught me far more then lessons from a textbook. My time here has taught me to believe in, and think for, myself. To be myself no matter how different I am from others; to be a friend, to love, and to stand up for what I believe in and what is right. So, if you don't like this essay then I am sorry, but I think it is exactly what I had to write.
Four hours later Harry sat with his best friends at the lunch table discussing the Charms class they had just come from. All of the sixth years looked up as Professor McGonagall began handing back their summer essays. Looking nervously at the top of his essay he saw two bits of parchment attached. Glancing at his chattering friends he looked down at what he was sure would be notes on how many points he lost and when his detention was. Harry read each of them twice before his shocked glassy eyed look caught the attention of his book worm friend.
"Harry? Are you ok? Is it your essay? I told you to write a normal essay, what did she say?" Hermione gazed with concern at Harry who still sat nearly motionless. Taking the parchment he was offering her she read the notes he pointed at.
I took the liberty of sending your essay to Professor Dumbledore to read before a grade was assigned. You are quite correct in that this was not what the assignment was about. However, Professor Dumbledore and I agree that it did keep with the spirit of the assignment. It was a very good essay Mr. Potter, and I expect to see such effort in your Transfiguration homework this year.
Professor M. McGonagall
A very good essay my boy. I am very glad that you took the initiative to write about what you have actually learned. It was not quite what Professor McGonagall was looking for, but relevant none the less. Thank you for reminding an old man that there is more to learn in life then what is taught in a classroom. The instructor has become the instructed.
Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster
Turning over the notes Hermione looked at the top of Harry's essay. There in a big red letter was an 'O'.