Hagrid: "Jus' busy, yeh know, usual stuff lessons ter prepare - couple o' salamanders got scale rot - an' I'm on probation."
Ron: "You're on probation? Sorry - I mean - you're on probation?"
Hagrid: "Yeah. S'no more'n I expected, ter tell yeh the truth. Yeh migh' not've picked up on it, bu' that inspection didn' go too well, yeh know…"
— Exchange between Hagrid and Ron[src]

Probation was a disciplinary status that teachers at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry could be placed under, in which the staff in question would be monitored more closely to evaluate their future performances, with possible dismissal if their teaching standards did not improve.[1]

During his time as Headmaster, Armando Dippet placed Care of Magical Creatures Professor Silvanus Kettleburn on sixty-two periods of probation, though he never found cause to dismiss him.[2] Kettleburn continued to serve the school under Albus Dumbledore until his retirement in 1993.[3]

Hogwarts High Inquisitor

"Under the terms of Educational Decree Number Twenty-Three, the High Inquisitor of Hogwarts has the power to inspect, place upon probation and sack any teacher she - that is to say, I - feel is not performing to the standards required by the Ministry of Magic."
— Dolores Umbridge[src]

Umbridge with her clipboard in her role as High Inquisitor

As part of her role as Hogwarts High Inquisitor, Dolores Umbridge was granted the power to inspect teachers, with the supposed purpose of eventually removing those not found to be up to the educational standards set by the Ministry of Magic. In actuality, this was an excuse to harass teachers found to be loyal to Albus Dumbledore.[4]

Upon inspecting a teacher, Umbridge could choose to place that teacher on probation, a power she used to great effect.[4] She first placed Sybill Trelawney on probation and began inspecting all future lessons of hers, in which Umbridge heavily harassed Trelawney with difficult questions and peer pressure, causing the latter to falter more and more,[1] eventually dismissing her from her teaching post.[5] Rubeus Hagrid was also placed under probation,[6] and like Trelawney, he was faltering from Umbridge's presence,[7] though he escaped from Hogwarts and went into hiding, rather than allowing himself to be formally dismissed.[8] Severus Snape, too, was briefly placed on probation after he stated to Umbridge that it would take a month for him to procure Veritaserum in order for her pursue her goal of interrogating Harry Potter; Snape took this with little concern, and simply left the room apathetically.[9] This period of probation lasted less than a day, however, as Umbridge was soon removed from her post as Hogwarts High Inquisitor and Headmistress once Dumbledore returned to the school.[10]

Contradicting to the purpose of a probation, which is to give incentive to the teacher to improve themselves, Umbridge abused her position to further weaken Trelawney and Hagrid's performances under her supervision, as Harry correctly suspected that she was trying to achieve a sacking soon. Indeed, Umbridge's constant harassment of those two teachers made them increasingly falter,[4][1][7] giving her a closer reason to dismiss them.[5][8]

Known teachers placed on probation


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 17 (Educational Decree Number Twenty-Four)
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Tales of Beedle the Bard - "The Fountain of Fair Fortune"
  3. 3.0 3.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 5 (The Dementor)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 15 (The Hogwarts High Inquisitor)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 26 (Seen and Unforeseen)
  6. 6.0 6.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 25 (The Beetle at Bay)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 21 (The Eye of the Snake)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 31 (O.W.L.s)
  9. 9.0 9.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 32 (Out of the Fire)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 38 (The Second War Begins)
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