Bill's First day.
Bill Weasley, newly appointed Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, was very nervous.
He was so nervous in fact, that he had been trying, for the last ten minutes to remember a single piece of the tons of advice he had been given. Now he stood in front of the blackboard, chalk in hand, and wondered what he was going to teach.
"Make it fun,"
Fred had told him. "Nothing is worse than a boring
"That's true," added George. "It just makes you want to glue people to their chairs then let off a couple of stink bombs."
Part of the problem was that Bill hadn't actually ever intended to become a professor.
"Concentrate on the text," Hermione had said. "Everything they need to know is in the books. You just have to take the time to make sure people read and understand them. Then demonstrate and get people to practice."
He had gone up to Minerva McGonagall's office to give her an invitation to his wedding, and had left with a new job. Very unexpected, and totally unintentional.
"You're mental if you take on that job," warned Ron. "Everybody that does it either dies, is a Death Eater, or gets run out town after a year. It's cursed you know."
He still wasn't sure why he had decided to take the position, Ron's advice non-withstanding. Working as a curse breaker for the biggest wizarding bank in the world had been an exciting and well paying job, and he had been good at it.
"Be vairy careful of zose little girls. You let zem know, if zey are having, er, zoughts, about you, zat I vill be very cross," Fleur, his fiancé, had said menacingly.
Strangely enough, it was probably Fleur that was the main reason why he had taken the job. A curse breakers life was often quite dangerous, despite what he told his mother. His father had known of course, but by silent, mutual agreement, they had never really explained to Molly what his work involved. Deciding to take on the added responsibility of a wife had taken away some of the interest he had always had in his work. He knew that Fleur was no fairy princess, and he suspected she would have enjoyed his job just as much as he did, but he just didn't feel the work was that important anymore.
There were other things he would rather be doing, and most of them involved spending time with Fleur. This position at Hogwarts had given him and Fleur a magnificent home to live in, with all the luxuries a huge staff of house elves could provide, and a lot of spare time to spend together since the number of students he was teaching was actually quite low. Many more perks had been added in order to attract him to the post.
"Make sure you stress how important it is for the students not to use any dark arts," Arthur, Bill's father, had said. "They need to understand where it all leads. Many will be fascinated, and may even have parents who side with you-know-you, but you have to make them understand that not only is it against the law, it all leads down a black road to no good."
Now, with his wedding behind him, he was glad to be doing something different, even if it made him nervous. Of course his current level of nervousness was nothing compared to what he had experienced for the wedding. The drama and situations he had found himself caught up in then had tested his patients and nerve more than being trapped two hundred feet underground in an ancient pharaoh's tomb with reanimated mummies trying to pull his brains out of his nose to eat them.
used a lot of semi dangerous creatures," Remus Lupin, a former DADA
teacher himself, advised. "Not only were they fun, but it gave the
students a chance to practice defensive spells that could be used in
a variety of situations."
"Of course," he had added, "I am bit drawn to dangerous creatures, and the situation is a bit different now."
Remus had been more right than he had known. Before, defence against the dark arts had been a compulsory, but neglected subject. Students had gone to it because they had to, and a few because they were fascinated, just as Arthur had said, but it had all been a bit academic. Nobody really expected to have to use a tenth of what they learned. He himself had learned more about curse breaking once he had left school. The DADA class had given him a glimpse of a subject he decided to make a career out of.
"Be very careful with them, especially the younger ones," his mother had said. "You have to remember they are only children. They can't be expected to get hurt and just get back up again and come back for more. You have to keep them safe; that is your job, but while you are at it, teach them how to deal with doxies, gnomes and ghouls," she added looking up towards the attic where a lousy old ghoul had lived for most of Bill's life. "You always need to know basic things like that, and nobody ever seems to pay enough attention to the basics!"
The war with Voldemort and his Death Eaters had taken its toll on everyone. Everybody had lost somebody they cared about, and nobody really knew who was winning. Defence against the Dark Arts was no longer a subject anybody took lightly. It was one of the main reasons Hogwarts had reopened this year.
"You won't have as many students as other years," Professor McGonagall had told him when he had arrived a short while ago. "But you will be teaching the most important subject. Parents are counting on the school to protect their children and to teach them how to protect themselves."
It was a lot of pressure, especially considering he had never been a teacher before, but he had first hand experience with the dark arts, personal knowledge that would never leave him.
At that thought his hand involuntarily rose to stroke the deep scars running across his face. When Hogwarts had been attacked just a few months ago (but it seemed like a life time), he had been attacked by the most notorious werewolf know, Fenrir Greyback. The monster had been in human form, but had bitten Bill anyway; just like the wolf he enjoyed becoming. The end result was Bill's badly marked face, and a tendency to enjoy steaks a bit rarer than he used to like them. It had also badly shaken his confidence. If he, a seasoned, experienced wizard, could be hurt so badly so easily, what chance did untrained children have?
"Most the monsters, as people call them, are harmless," Hagrid had told him. "Sure, they know how to defend themselves, but if you ask me it's not monsters you aught to be warning against, it's 'em Death Eaters. A monster will only hurt you if you go bugging it, a bad wizard like 'em Death Eaters will come looking for trouble. Mark my words young Bill, your time'd be better spent just showing them your scars and telling them what caused them and how to avoid it themselves. Leave the 'monster' teaching to me."
Not that Hagrid was a particularly good teacher himself, but he had a point. As Care of Magical Creatures teacher, Hagrid had been known to put his students in mortal danger without really realising it. He just didn't see beasts in the same light as other people did. Of course that was easier to do when you were half giant, like Hagrid, and didn't have to fear very much of anything. Even offensive spells mostly just bounced off.
Still he was right in many respects. Lupin's methods were valuable, but Bill needed to stress that 'common' monsters were not the most dangerous things facing anybody now days. Dementors, giants, reanimated corpses called inferi and Death Eaters were the biggest danger now, and Bill knew one person who had faced more of them than anybody and had also been a teacher, of sorts.
"Just teach them never to give up," Harry had said. "No matter what happens, they have to keep trying. If they stop, even for a second, they are lost. You need to teach them hope. Hope, and a good shield spell; that will do for starters."
Good advice, thought Bill, very good advice.
"Excuse me sir," a small voice said behind Bill. "Are you the DADA teacher?"
Bill turned and found a group of seemingly small children standing in the doorway of the class room. Obviously first years, judging by their size. Seeing Bill's face a collective gasp escaped from the ones in front that could see him. There was some whispering and muttering as a few at the back started pushing and straining to see what the others were looking at.
"Yes," he answered smiling as he beckoned them to come in and sit down. "I am Professor Weasley, and I am going to teach you all how to live."
He didn't feel nervous anymore. Not much anyway.