The Hospital Wing saw the young Gabriella Ashford, take charge this year. The Healer, who soon became popular with both staff and students for her excellent skills and friendly nature, revamped the place, installing new rooms, in addition to the waiting area.
Miss Ashford took as warmly to the castle, as the castle to her. "I absolutely loved being back at Hogwarts as the resident Healer," Healer Ashford said, when asked how it had felt to take up the post. "It was a rewarding change to serve the school as a staff member rather than as a student." She said she had a great great relationship with both the students and the staff, and that made for a great transition back into Hogwarts. "She was very competent," said Hufflepuff Brody Summers, reflecting popular opinion.
Healer Ashford tended to the usual minor - and the occasional major - injuries, for most of the term. She has cited that she had to see to broken bones the most, and confirmed that a major lot of these injuries were Quidditch-related. "Nearly everyone who came in was unconscious, which means there was lots of levitating going on," she said, matter-of-factly. "As much as I hated to see such ill and injured students, I also enjoyed being able to help them and make them feel better again."
Unfortunately, things took a much harsher turn, when Hogwarts saw staff and students take part in an unfortunate battle against evil, at the end of the term. "The hardest part of being the Healer was helping the students who had been injured in those terrible duels," Healer Ashford confirmed, quietly. "That was definitely something I'd never imagined to be confronted with." She said that the battle changed her, as a person. "It was very difficult to see the damage that had been done to those children, innocent children who were just learning how to defend themselves from the terrible parts of our wizarding world. I certainly re-evaluated whether or not this was the career for me. As much as I loved being able to help, I wasn't sure if I could cope with seeing children damaged to near death."
But cope, she did. The Headmaster's Seating Area was turned into a makeshift Hospital Room to allow injured students quick access to medical aid, and Healer Ashford refused to take a break, until peace was restored. "She was amazing," says Candy Sugarsticks, a first year whom the healer tended to, on the night of the battle. "It was a tough time, a tough day, but she saw to each injured person. She didn't give up on anyone. She did what - and as much as - she could, for us."
Herbology proved to be… interesting as usual this term. The usual Bunbury didn’t seem to be present during the first class of the term. In fact she lacked that certain THING Bunz has. Brody Summers had this to say about the resident redhead’s lesson though, “"I liked her lesson. I like Tea. Especially Mint Tea. It tastes cool." How eloquent and insightful, Brody. It is a well known fact that MOST of the students at Hogwarts were terrified of Professor Bunbury and Mina Bennett, a Ravenclaw third year, has these words to share with me, “"Well, Professor Bunz terrifies me a bit. Her lessons were educational though and you always had to be on your 'A' game when it came to lessons with her. She knew her stuff and she wouldn't take any less when it came to her plants.” No one can deny that Professor Bunbury was an expert in Herbology… if only she hadn’t let her personal life get in the way.
After last year’s History of Magic Lessons being split into Basic and Advanced Lessons, the students that appeared for this year’s lessons did not really know what they were in for. This year History of Magic was to be taught by Professor Lars Svensson, the previous Transfiguration teacher, so the students this year were going to be in for a big treat.
On walking into class for the first lesson of the year, the students would see that the desks were set out in a circle, which for some students might be a little unusual, but then when is anything at Hogwarts close to anything usual. The students filled into for the lesson, which was going to be based around the topic of Goblins. Anyone who’s anyone in the wizarding world knows that the Goblins are the creatures that work in Gringotts, but they also have their own language; Gobbledegook, and perhaps the most important fact, the idea of the major, and "Epic" as Jake Upstead put it, wars that the Goblins had against the magical communities. It seemed that this lesson was to be about these wars, as Professor Svensson asked the class when the first goblin rebellion was; which was in 1912, and took place near Hogsmeade, which is right down the road from the castle. Talk about wars in the neighbourhood, right? The main topic of this lesson was the leaders of the Goblin Rebellions, basically the trouble makers. A few examples of these leaders are; Urg the unclean, and Gringott, who was the founder of Gringotts.
The class then turned into a sort of debate or conference environment, where half the class were goblin Leaders and the other half Human Leaders. Each student wrote down what they thought was the biggest problem that needed to be resolved, and then everyone had a big debate.
Although the circle appearance of the classroom might have been fun for the first lesson, by the time she students filed into the classroom for the second lesson it had disappeared, and in it's place were rows of paired desks, all facing the front, where a map of Europe hung. Quite ignoring the map on the board, Professor Svensson started the lesson by talking about Hogsmeade; when it was founded, what the first building was, and other fun facts. Hogsmeade is the only dwelling where the population is completely made up of Wizards. But there are other areas in the world where there are small clusters of wizarding dwellers; such as Ottery St. Catchpole, Tinworth and Bulgaria. This led onto a discussion about the Statue of Secrecy, which affects these communities because it would mean that they had to be extra careful, so that the muggles wouldn't become aware of their totally awesome wizarding powers. This affected the small dwellings, rather than Hogsmeade, due to no Muggles actually living in Hogsmeade.
The first Muggle Studies lesson of the term had the students arriving with the instructions to dress in comfortable clothing. Professor Lawson who had taught Defense against the Dark Arts the previous term, was now teaching Muggle Studies. It seemed so natural to most students that barely anyone even thought of asking why. After defining what exactly a muggle is, the Professor began the lesson on Muggle sports, with a focus on Soccer. Lawson showed us a ball known either as a Soccer ball or a football, depending on the part of the world the muggle is from. After discussing a bit about the history of football, the class got to get up, take a ball, and practice dribbling and passing. No, not saliva or gas, silly boys, dribbling is what it is called when you use your feet to move the ball up and down the field of play. Passing is when you kick or move the ball from your possession into that of another player. While a few balls went astray and more than a few bruises and bloody noses were earned, at least nobody died. Good start to the term, Professor Lawson.
After several students were dismissed to go to the hospital wing, Professor Lawson conjured targets for the rest of the class to aim their soccer balls at. Students were encouraged to use force and accuracy and hit the targets – and not Jake Upstead’s poor broken nose. The class ended before anyone else could get benched, and for homework Professor Lawson sent us off to find out a bit more about the rules of football. A little Hufflepuff was rewarded for her participation in the lesson with a voucher for a free dessert at the Three Broomsticks. Lucky you, Arya Lovegoods, though the Ravenclaw female prefect didn’t seem nearly so impressed with your coupon. I wonder why?
The second lesson began a little more calmly. The students were greeted by Professor Lawson and a classroom decorated with Muggle Olympic Games Paraphernalia. Though the lesson was to be a theory lesson and not so hands on as the previous class, Jake Upstead still showed up wearing protective gear. You never know when Gryffindor Joshua Carter is going to see whether or not you’re a good header after all. Professor Lawson explained how the lesson would work. He’d ask questions and the first to answer correctly would get a gold medal, the second would get a silver medal, and the third a bronze, each medal having a point value too. At the end of the game, whichever house had the most gold medals would also earn an additional 15 points.
At the end of the lesson, after thirty questions were asked, it was those know it all Ravenclaws who stood out as the winners, Little Tiberius Pryce showing himself as the star of the lesson. Fourteen gold medals and 77 points for Ravenclaw!
Heading into the dungeons for some is a scary thing, even some fear entering Kazimeriz’ classroom more over… The old man’s teaching methods have been questioned by some, but no one can refute the fact that he teaches with an efficient nature and despite the mishaps that have occurred he is always level headed and in control of things. Every term it seems that there are forces that wish to wreak as much havoc as possible in the Potions class and Kazi handles it all in stride. Bravo, Kazi. Bravo.
The first Potions Lesson of the year started off with a bang, or better put, it started off with Peeves. The pesky poltergeist entered the classroom before Professor Kazimeriz and began to douse the poor students in unknown ingredients and such. Hehe. The result was, of course, quite humorous… well maybe not to those involved. Then to make matters even worse a student’s cauldron exploded again dousing a number of kids in her concoction. Several students, including Prefect Raiden Kururugi, were affected by this potion slinging situation. I questioned Raiden on his precious little kneazle ears and cruppie tail and he this is what he had to say about the experience: "Everything was going so well until that Hufflepuff exploded her cauldron... and then it all went to hell. Being stuck with kneazle ears and a cruppie tail for the rest of term was possibly one of the most embarrassing things that's happened to me at Hogwarts." Now, I thought Raiden and the others were downright precious rocking out their animal parts, but I can see where one might be a bit upset with it being a part of them all term long.
Potions Two proved to be just as eventful for those involved. Poor, poor Potions students. It would turn out that yet another student’s cauldron would explode due to incorrect cooling methods this class period. As Ivory Erised’s cauldron went BOOM a much more sinister potion was laid out all over the classroom. Aggrotentia which has been known for its causing mood swings was seeped into the skin of many a student and the effect was quite unsettling. "Hmm, it was a nice class...until the end when someone decided to be stupid, not pay attention to what they were doing, and blew up their cauldron; causing people to have like, these huge mood swings and turn all green and such. I'm sorry but some people just cannot pull of the color, no matter how hard they try. I mean, I myself can pull it off perfectly, even if I wasn't one of the people who were green, but others...it's a shame really. They just, ruined the awesomeness of it for a few hours," Evelyn Flores told me. Can you imagine? Hulked out students running amuck. Tsk, tsk. Kazimeriz always talked about following instructions to the T, this is what happens when you don’t.
The final lesson was much less hectic compared to the previous, but you can always count of Kazi to stimulate the minds of the students. He started off by giving the class a little puzzle to figure out before they would be allowed to move onto the next part of the class. The next portion being the brewing of a wit sharpening potion of their choosing. The class went smoothly for all involved. Heh.
I also had the great pleasure of sitting down with Professor Kazimeriz and he had some very heartfelt things to say about the students and his thoughts on teaching at Hogwarts for all those years. I asked the great Professor what his most rewarding experience in teaching was and he said in his scruffy voice, "For me, the most rewarding experience never comes in the classroom. Until each student graduates, they are mine to mold and shape and educate, and there is always room for improvement. No; for me, the most rewarding experiences come when my students have moved on from the academic world and are far from my side. I often get letters from students who complained of my methods while in school, who later realize that what I did was to prepare them, in a controlled environment, for the true trials of our society. So, when I hear of one of my students triumphing in their chosen profession, or learn that they were able to defend themselves or identify a dangerous potion and take the proper antidote to save themselves... In short, when they are able to put my teaching to real-world use and have a positive result, that is the most rewarding moment. That is when I feel that I am truly an educator."
Well said, Kazi. Very well said indeed. I hope you will all join me in wishing Professor Kazimeriz well in all of his future endeavors as we all know that he will be leaving us after the injuries he sustained during the battle that ensued during the term. Farewell, Kazimeriz, you will be greatly missed.
Transfiguration… One word to describe it; AWESOME! All of the students crowded into the Transfiguration classroom this term to be greeted not by Professor Svensson, but a lovely, bouncy, little old lady named Mildred Pilliwickle. She was as exciting as the subject matter she taught.
Starting the term with butterflies and flowers she did not disappoint. When asked what she thought of Professor Pilliwickle Sarah Griffin said, “What can you say about Professor Pilliwickle? Well for a start, I've never met a nicer lady in all my life. She is so sweet, and happy, and bouncy, too. Rather obsessed with butterflies and flowers, it has to be said - but conjuring them in her lessons was certainly enjoyable. She made the learning of the spells fun, and happy, and easy ... and I never wanted to leave her classroom. Her enthusiasm was very infectious.” Truer words could not have been spoken about the bouncy lady! It seems that not only did she make the subject matter interesting but she also made the students feel at ease with her bubbly nature.
The second class of the term boasted yet more butterflies and flowers. Imagine that. But this time around she had the class conjure and then revert them to their original state; caterpillars and seed or bulbs. It was certainly interesting to behold. At one point it actually RAINED caterpillars. Interesting, no? Jakers Upstead had this to say about the resident purple butterfly nut, “Professor Whatserface was an amazing teacher. It was in her class that I managed to do the flowers and the butterflies and she totally boosted my confidence. I think she was really cool, one of the best, most understanding teachers I've ever had." Now that coming from Mister Upstead is really and truly a compliment.
The last class of term had a bit of a dark cloud over it… After the battle and all that happened Professor Pilliwickle was less than chipper, to say the least. Sigh. But she didn’t fail in bringing us another amazing class. This class she taught about Human Tranfiguration. She actually had the class turn body parts into fruits and veggies. Yeah, that’s right. Pilliwickle with plums for ears… Interesting. The Slytherin male Prefect, Mr. Raiden Kururugi, had this to say about Proffesor Pilliwickle's last class: "The class was kinda fun, but it... it was really strange, going from kneazle ears to fruit for ears. I know what being deaf feels like now, though!" Poor Raiden...first the kneazle ears and then apples... poor fella.
Despite the collective grumpiness of her classroom on the last day of classes, Pilliwickle has proven to be a Professor we will all miss. When asked what she could say about the joys of teaching in ONE word, this is what the lovely lady had to say, “Oh golly gosh. I’m just allowed ONE? Oh, but that's not fair, dear. Uhm.. *ponders* Hmmm... WONDEROUS!” Leave it to Professor Pilliwickle to give a rambley statement when asked for a word. Heh.