Thursday, October 6, 2011

Severus Snape, a Great Teacher

Disclaimer: Though I can't imagine this as a real warning to anyone, I must mention that you should not read the following entry if you have not yet finished the entire Harry Potter series, or if you care about important and life-changing plot points in the series being spoiled for you.  :-)

To remember World Teachers' Day on Facebook and Twitter, I asked "Who is your favorite literary student-mentor duo?" Though I came across many characters from young adult literature (Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, etc.), what intrigued me most was a response with the tandem of Harry Potter and Professor Snape. The pairing was most unlikely to me, due to the fact that they disdained each other almost until the very end of Snape's life, and they had no real student-mentor interaction that proved to be productive for Harry (except the failed stint when Snape was to teach Occlumency).  However, upon reflection, Harry must have learned lessons from Snape that he had not encountered from any of the many mentors he had growing up.

Though Snape did not directly teach Harry what a hero wanted to know and learn in his teenage years, Snape did protect him and in the end, save his life.  Despite the complicated past Snape had with Harry's parents, he knew that Lily Potter, whom he loved and cherished was more important a memory to uphold than all the pride he wanted to keep.  Harry would never forget Snape, and we know that through his children, how he named one of them, and what he told them about Snape. Harry will always carry Snape's memory, and how he was saved by the man he would have never pegged to even care about him. That is, undoubtedly, a sign of a great teacher: one that leaves students with an impression that they will never forget, no matter how painful the road going there must have been, and no matter how deep the battle scars are from that fight.  A great teacher is one who knows that sometimes, a student must learn lessons on his own.  Though it may be easy to dictate what values to uphold or how to make the right choices, the real lessons taken to heart are from the mistakes one commits himself.  The real way one grows is through experience.

Severus Snape by Sally Avernier, on World Teachers' Day is celebrated every October 5th of the year.


  1. I would be happy to have one Severus Snape as a mentor.^^

  2. Kay - Me too! :-) Though I would be scared of him as well!!

  3. Like Harry Potter, I learned some very important lessons from many teachers. I think it's important to realize that not all of the lessons and teachers we will encounter in life are "LIKE-able". I mean, who likes to be in pain, right? But painful lessons are the best ones. Those are the ones you don't easily forget.

  4. Hi osenorita! What great insight. I think Harry learned a lot from Snape that wasn't necessarily like-able, but in the end, everything worked out for him to come out victorious from battling Voldemort, and a great part of that was because of Snape. :-)