When growing up, many were hoping to receive their invitation to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. After reading all about Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger’s adventures at the magical institution, who could blame fans for wanting to go? Not only would they be learning about real enthralling stuff, but they’d also get to learn under the likes of Professor Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall, who both became really likable teachers throughout the series.
Yet, for every Dumbledore and McGonagall, there are teachers who were either woefully inept at their job—or just plain evil. Here we look at the very worst teachers from every Harry Potter movie.
8 Sorcerer’s Stone: Professor Quirinus Quirrell
Harry Potter’s journey begins in the first book and movie, entitled the Sorcerer’s Stone. Before even setting foot at Hogwarts, he is taken to Diagon Ally to buy his school supplies and immediately bumps into Professor Quirinus Quirrell, who Hagrid reveals teachers Defence Against the Dark Arts at the school. With his unfortunate stutter and timid persona, he looks like somebody who would be scared to address his students.
But that proves to be a red herring, with Quirrell instead spending the year plotting Harry’s death. Working in tandem with Lord Voldemort, he tries to not only kill the Boy Who Lived, but also to steal Nicholas Flamel’s stone so the Dark Lord can rise again. Being a bad teacher is one thing, but attempting to murder your students? That’s unforgivable.
7 Chamber of Secrets: Gilderoy Lockhart
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Gilderoy Lockhart succeeds Quirrell as the school’s Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. It seems a shrewd move by Albus Dumbledore, appointing somebody who had spent his years traveling, encountering, and overcoming adversary after adversary. Throw in the fact he’s extremely handsome, therefore keeping the girls at Hogwarts happy, and who could blame Dumbledore for turning to Lockhart?
However, Lockhart proves to be a fraud. He’s incompetent, failing to stop the attacks on Muggle-borns within the school while also trying to run away when Ginny Weasley is dragged into the chamber. He also tries to wipe Harry and Ron Weasley’s memories when they discover the truth about him. Hilariously, the spell ends up reversing and leaving him with irreparable brain damage.
6 Prisoner of Azkaban: Severus Snape
We nearly opted for Rubeus Hagrid for this one given how his spell as Care Of Magical Creatures teacher is nearly ended when Buckbeak takes a swipe at Draco Malfoy. He spends the whole movie sulking over the Hypogriff and paying very little attention to other matters. However, we’ve decided to go with Severus Snape instead.
And the reason for that is that Snape does very little besides get in the way of Harry Potter. He’s rude to the Boy Who Lived when he replaces Remus Lupin as Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher and, later on, let’s his feud with Sirius Black and the rest of the Marauders get in the way of justice. Snape doesn’t do anything to set the record straight about Sirius being innocent for the murder of Peter Pettigrew and, as a result, nearly allows an innocent man to be kissed by the Dementors at the end of the movie. Thankfully, though, Harry is able to spare his godfather from such a horrible fate.
5 Goblet of Fire: Mad-Eye Moody
Barty Crouch Jr, while posing as Alastor Mad-Eye Moody, was a great teacher. He helps Harry Potter battle his way through the Triwizard tournament, teaches pupils about the dangers of the Unforgiveable Curses, and even boosts the morale of the terminally anxious Neville Longbottom. Moody himself? Not so much.
The only times we see the real Moody in the real movie is during a flashback sequence and when his body is discovered at the bottom of a large trunk. Moody agreed to teach at Hogwarts as a favor for Albus Dumbledore but doesn’t get to take a single lesson. For somebody so paranoid, he should be seen the kidnap attempt from Crouch Jr coming. But he didn’t, and, for that reason, makes this list.
4 Order of the Phoenix: Dolores Umbridge
When you think of the worst teachers you had at school, you probably think one of the following: that they were incompetent, rude or aggressive or held a personal vendetta against you. Well, step forward Dolores Umbridge, because she ticks off all three of those boxes.
Umbridge is a bully who acquires a teaching job at Hogwarts via the Ministry of Magic, who are keen to rule the school with an iron first due to what they perceive to be dangerous behavior from Albus Dumbledore. Once there, she barely teaches her pupils a thing, dishes out punishments so severe she should be in Azkaban, and makes it her personal mission to stop Harry from enjoying himself. Like all bad teachers, though, she gets her comeuppance and gets subjected to some rough treatment at the hands of the Hogwarts centaurs.
3 Half-Blood Prince: Horace Slughorn
Horace Slughorn is significantly more intolerable in the Harry Potter books than the movies because who can really hate on Jim Broadbent that much? But, despite that, he makes the list for the Half-Blood Prince because he’s selfish, and, like Lockhart before him, incompetent.
Slughorn isn’t able to notice that Harry, somebody who struggled with Potions in the past, suddenly usurps Hermione Granger as the subject’s star pupil due to the help of an old textbook and a mysterious person named the Half-Blood Prince. Not only that, but, at first, he holds back at giving Harry an old memory that would be key to defeating Lord Voldemort. He eventually does but, with the fate of the magical world on the line, he should really have done so sooner.
2 Deathly Hallows Part 1: Charity Burbage
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, most of the action takes place away from Hogwarts due to the fact Lord Voldemort and his loyal Death Eaters rule the magical world. As a result, we see no teachers, but one does make an appearance right at the movie’s start: Muggle Studies bigwig Charity Burbage.
However, she doesn’t last long with Lord Voldemort murdering her via the killing curse and feeding her body to his pet snake, Nagini. She tries pleading with Severus Snape, but did she really expect him to cut her loose and free her while the Dark Lord’s eyes are firmly fixed on him? Burbage is a forgettable character, but her death sets the tone for what is arguably the darkest movie of the entire franchise.
1 Deathly Hallows Part 2: Albus Dumbledore
We love Albus Dumbledore, we really do. He’s arguably the biggest player throughout the whole series in the fight against Lord Voldemort, but, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, his reputation is dealt several blows.
It’s revealed that Dumbledore did little to help his struggling family during his younger years, instead choosing to plot a path to greatness alongside Gellert Grindelwald. Plus, when Harry encounters the Hogwarts headmaster at the end of the movie, seeking words of help and wisdom, he’s given only cryptic responses. Add the fact that Dumbledore gives the Boy Who Lived very little clues about how to actually go about fighting Voldemort, and he comes out of the whole thing looking rather disappointing.