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Ravenclaw is for all the smart wizards. Presumably, anyone who ended up as a Professor must have been pretty smart. So why are there Professors not from Ravenclaw?

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  • 10
    Seems like a fallacy to think teachers are inherently the smartest of a group. Feb 8, 2014 at 4:40
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    "Ravenclaw is for all the smart wizards" so all the others are dumbasses ? Plus the "main characteristic" of a Ravenclaw is to pursue knowledge, not be smart, you can pursue knowledge and fail to acquire it, just look at Lockhart !
    – Cartolin
    Dec 1, 2016 at 10:08
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    not everyone that is a teacher set out to become one. Lupin being an example
    – NKCampbell
    Jun 21, 2017 at 19:33
  • I had a college prof who was a certified genius and, apparently went from never playing chess to Master level in a year. He could _not communicate with other human beings, though. He was a terrible prof because he didn't know how to teach others what was obvious and intuitive to him. He was really good at other things, though. Being "smart" does not a good teacher make.
    – FreeMan
    Nov 10, 2021 at 17:29
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    BTW, for anyone reading this: the thought behind the question is a logical error called an associative fallacy which goes like this: Ravenclaws are smart; Professors are smart; Professors ought to be Ravenclaws. (Yes, I know this is old. I don’t know why it popped up on my feed.)
    – Dúthomhas
    Nov 10, 2021 at 21:58

6 Answers 6

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Hufflepuffs are quite resourceful and reliable, very good qualities to have for a teacher trying to teach a difficult subject.

Slytherins are quite tricky and manipulative, and knowing how to use that to slip knowledge into a student's mind would be quite like them.

Gryffindors are courageous, and what sort of courage it must take to teach a classroom full of spell-potent young wizards.

In short: There are more qualities to being a teacher than just "knowing everything".

And, more to the point, the most scholarly student of them all in the series, Hermione Granger, was in house Gryffindor. So clearly there's more to being chosen for Ravenclaw than simply 'You are the smartest'.

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    Furthermore, I would say the qualities of Ravenclaw - pursuing knowledge - wouldn't necessarily mean you would be a good teacher, or even want to be. Not all researchers and experts can teach or even talk to others about their fields - that takes a different sort of skill.
    – Nathan
    Feb 7, 2014 at 15:37
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    "So clearly there's more to being chosen for Ravenclaw than simply 'You are the smartest'." I think it's more that being Sorted in to Ravenclaw means there's nothing to you except your intelligence. Feb 7, 2014 at 15:37
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    @AnthonyGrist It just means your primary attribute is intelligence. It's not a negative thing.
    – Rag
    Feb 7, 2014 at 19:20
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    @AnthonyGrist Lockheart.
    – Zibbobz
    Oct 9, 2014 at 17:46
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    @AnthonyGrist Just like being sorted into Gryffindor means that there's nothing to you except courage? Not really sound logic. Nov 11, 2017 at 9:36
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Intelligence isn't limited to those who are in Ravenclaw, and it isn't the only characteristic that the Sorting Hat looks for when assigning students to Houses. It's perfectly possible to be incredibly intelligent - more than enough to potentially be Sorted into Ravenclaw - but demonstrate something else that ultimately means you would be better suited in another of the four Houses.

Just look at Hermione, who was the smartest student in her year at Hogwarts, but was Sorted into Gryffindor because she demonstrated potential for great bravery, which evidently outweighed her intelligence.

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There are two or three assumptions here that need to be debunked. Firstly, the idea that teachers have to be the smartest - in fact, if the wizarding world is anything like the real world, many of the smartest and brightest may well have shunned teaching for other pursuits. Secondly, the idea that intelligence is inherently a bookish thing, and that it is the most important trait of a teacher (really it's just one of a number that teachers need). And thirdly, the idea that the Houses and their students are all so obviously not alike.

The beauty of the different House traits is that they are all so broad as to mean that any one individual could show characteristics of all 4 of them. Just look at Severus Snape (perhaps one of the more complicated characters in the novels): he is tricky and manipulative, a born Slytherin who deceived Voldemort (and the protagonists). Yet he was also "the bravest wizard I have ever known" (according to Harry) due to his working as a spy against Voldemort (Gryffindor's primary trait). His brilliance at school in potions (as demonstrated by the Half-blood prince book he left) show he had the ingenuity characteristic of a Ravenclaw. And his loyalty to Dumbledore and to his affections for Lily, a loyalty and dedication that lasted right to the end, show he had a bit of Hufflepuff in him too.

And let's not forget the very real possibility that people change, with time. Snape again, may be a good example of this. What House would he have been sorted in, if he was Sorted around the time of the 7th book, instead of as a child?

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According to Pottermore, Professor McGonagall was the premier Transfiguration academic of her time (and before her, we of course have Albus Dumbledore's academic achievements). Both were in Gryffindor, and both - leaving aside all OTHER considerations - were clearly more academically qualified to teach Transfiguration than any competitor, from Ravenclaw or otherwise.

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This question begins with an incorrect assumption "Presumably, anyone who ended up as a Professor must have been pretty smart." This is easily dismissed by reviewing Professor of Divination, Sybill Trelawney, She clearly does not fit in the category "pretty smart". Another large character/professor may also be identified, as a tough fit for "pretty smart", who I will leave unnamed for those who have not progressed through the entire series.

As "pretty smart" is not a requirement for professorship, a house has little to do with becoming a professor. Not to mention the facts presented in other answers concerning the distribution of Intelligence across houses.

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    Hagrid as well, while intelligent, would not really ever be reffered to as "pretty smart" either, but because of his knowledge and understanding of all the mystical creatures made an ideal professor in that area.
    – Monty129
    Feb 7, 2014 at 19:15
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    @Monty129 - see " Another large character/professor" :) Feb 7, 2014 at 19:33
  • "Large Character". Heh.
    – Zibbobz
    Feb 7, 2014 at 21:14
  • There are quite a few professors who are not particularly smart, depending on your classification of "smart". Snape was not particularly smart because he decided to spy on two of the most dangerous and powerful wizards of all time. Dumbledore was not smart because he relied on teenagers to save the world and didn't ask for help when he put on a cursed ring that started killing him. Quirrell was not smart because he allowed himself to be enthralled by Voldemort while in Transylvania. Binns is not very smart because he didn't notice he literally died and kept on teaching. And so on.
    – TylerH
    Nov 10, 2021 at 19:23
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This is a fairly common assumption about Ravenclaws, borderline a stereotype.

Here's what Pottermore Sorting Analysis has to say about Ravenclaw:

That's the reason Hermione is not a Ravenclaw: She is not open-minded, creative, or tolerant, although she is well-rounded, all Ravenclaw traits.

First of all, just because somebody is from another house doesn't mean they aren't smart (ex: Hermione, and even Harry has relatively good grades through the series.)

Secondly, most professors at Hogwarts don't seem to be overly well rounded (See quote above.) Could you see McGonagall being the potions master and Snape being the Transfiguration teacher? Sure, they can probably do it well, but they likely haven't completely mastered every single subject as much as they have mastered their specialty.

After a thorough search of the JKR website, I found nothing on how a teacher of Hogwarts is qualified, although I suspect that they need only a Outstanding NEWT in the specific subject that they want to be qualified to teach.

Third, certain traits from other houses might overpower Ravenclaw traits. Let's use McGonagall. According to Pottermore, McGonagall was a Hatstall and So was Flitwick, both between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw. While they both possess all the Ravenclaw and all the Gryffindor traits, McGonagall has a higher ratio of Gryffindor traits and Flitwick had a higher ratio of Ravenclaw traits, although they had both.

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    That Pottermore quote seems fairly low-quality retconning, to be frank; Hermione is shown to be quite open-minded and creative throughout the series. No idea where it could be coming from.
    – TylerH
    Nov 10, 2021 at 19:25
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    @TylerH Hermione is extremely close-minded, as demonstrated by she refused to hear a word against SPEW and remained convinced that her opinion was the right one.
    – ava
    Nov 10, 2021 at 19:29
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    The word for that is stubborn, not close-minded. Close-minded would be refusing to consider House Elves as anything but eternal servants who don't deserve any rights.
    – TylerH
    Nov 10, 2021 at 19:35
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    Hermione is tolerant but not the most open minded and creative person. If a Ravenclaw read something he/she may detect errors or inconsistencies or things that the author are not saying directly. Hermione on the other hand are more literal and believes something without doubt or reject something if doesn't fit wit her ideas.
    – wolfpirate
    Nov 11, 2021 at 1:28

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