I Went to Hogwarts for Seven Years and Did Not Learn Math or Spelling, and Now I Can’t Get a Job

From The New Yorker:

Dear Headmaster McGonagall:

I am a recent Hogwarts graduate, and, although my time with you was a literal fantasy, I unfortunately did not learn a lot of basic skills, like math or spelling, at your skool.

You may say, “Why do you need arithmetic? You’re a wizard. You can do magic!” To which I reply, sure, for some wizard careers that’s great, but other wizards work in middle management and just want a normal nine-to-five gig. When I graduated, I thought that all I would need was my wand and a couple of choice incantations, but these days, without at least a little algebra, you’re not even qualified to work in Bertie Bott’s retail department.

It’s hard out here for a poorly rounded wizard. Recently, I went on magical LinkedIn and saw almost none of my Hogwarts class of 2007 represented at top-tier wizarding companies. It’s not difficult to speculate why—without the assistance of Hermione Granger, half of my fellow-Gryffindors couldn’t even conjugating most verbs, and I am not sure that the instruction we received from Hagrid the giant is technically certifiable. Additionally, I cannot sit still for more than four hours a day without embarking on spontaneous adventures, and my vocabulary is poop.

Thanks to the Hogwarts curriculum, I can withstand mind control and even limited torture, but I cannot write a compelling cover letter without humiliating grammatical error’s. Why is literature not a course at your skool? I can enchant my quill to write my thoughts, but I never learned how to make my thoughts enchanting. I heard that Durmstrang students have a skool newspaper. You know what Hogwarts has? A three-headed dog lurking in the castle, with permission to kill whoever it finds. Indeedly, my life was constantly endangered while at Hogwarts, which was an academic distracshun.

. . . .

Realistically, here is what I am qualified to be:

  • A troll hunter
  • An auror
  • An eccentric teacher at Hogwarts

As you can imagine, this does not make me an appealing prospect for interview season.

Link to the rest at The New Yorker

4 thoughts on “I Went to Hogwarts for Seven Years and Did Not Learn Math or Spelling, and Now I Can’t Get a Job”

  1. I always thought it odd that in a book series that has captivated millions of young readers, no character is ever depicted as reading a book other than Hermione, and those are always schoolbooks. The single depiction of literature is Professor Lockhart, not a very flattering one, and even then no one is actually shown reading the books.

  2. I unfortunately did not learn a lot of basic skills, like math or spelling, at your skool

    I call shenanigans! Hermione took an arithmancy class, which suggests that arithmetic of some kind had to be play in Hogwarts. Otherwise, how does one do the arithmancy? Or is this a class where 2+2=5? The story never did explain what Hermione was going to do with that subject.

    I also doubt that they never covered the vital difference between “eat, Grandma” and “eat Grandma” when it came to how to craft spells and whatnot.

    Besides this, Hogwarts starts in the sixth grade, which suggests that all the basics were to be covered by proper schooling in the elementary level. But I always did figure the Hogwarts kids had to learn some Latin, though. It’s their “voces magicae” language, and I would be surprised if a smart kid couldn’t anticipate or create new spells just by extending their Latin vocabulary. But it would have been cool if they had an Indiana Jones or a Rupert Giles to oblige learning some Akkadian or Egyptian or whatever.

    No literature? Huh, I never noticed that. Could have added a touch of worldbuilding if it turned out all the wizarding kids had more to go on than “The Tales of Beedle the Bard.” Throw in the wizarding equivalent of “Encyclopedia Brown” or Sherlock, leave out the ones where the dogs die.

    • Well, specifically, nobody is every depicted as reading. When Harry is home for the summer, locked in his room, he never seems to have spent time with a good book. When a character walks into the common room, all sorts of things are going on – except reading. If Harry walks up to Ron, or almost anyone else, he never seems to interrupt them in the act of reading a book – unless it’s Hermione, and she’s reading a schoolbook, and that furthers the plot. Students who lounge outside on a nice day never have a book. Nobody is ever spoken of as having gone off to read, or been reading, or having just enjoyed a few chapters of a book. The school library only seems to have non-fiction, and Florish and Botts only seems to bother selling schoolbooks – and Professor Lockharts iffy memoirs.

      It’s almost as if Rowling is afraid that such a mention would alienate her… readers. Just weird.

      • The more I think about it, you’re right: no one reads for fun in those books. And it’s weird. It’s very, very weird.

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