The first day of school at RMI always brought new and exciting things, but there was a particularly new, particularly unfortunate thing: one Paola DeMarco was enrolled as a first year at RMI. A girl who shared a last name with his brother. His brother who, despite making some progress, was still not precisely a welcome presence in Aaron's life.
Aaron had no idea who Paola DeMarco was, or if she was even related to his (extended, pureblooded, bigoted) family at all, but it was still giving him the jitters as he shuffled his notes in his office, tucking them into the back of the text he was currently reading, and straightened his crimson, dragon-decorated robe as he stood to head over to the Practical Lab, where most of the Spellwork classes he taught were held. The silver dragon embroidered on his robe slithered around it, much like a moving picture; Aaron enjoyed wearing his own enchanted robes, when he wasn’t borrowing a t-shirt from his husband. Today had felt like a day to wear robes, though, so that’s what he had gone for.
Back in the day, they’d had individualized classrooms for each subject and they had been able to decorate as desired, but for whatever reason the administration had closed down that wing of the school at some point and replaced the individual classrooms with the Practical Lab, the Outdoor Classroom, and the Lecture Hall. It typically didn’t bother Aaron but as he approached the Practical Lab, he found himself wishing he had a little bit more of a home-court advantage. It didn’t occur to him that wishing for a home-court advantage against an eleven-year-old he couldn’t pick out of a crowd was a little ridiculous.
The lower years class trickled into the Practical Lab and Aaron gave them a few extra minutes to wander in late, since it was the first day of class. And he could not, indeed, guess which of his students was potentially related to him. Well that was just delightful.
“Good morning, everyone,” the Spellwork professor pitched his voice to sound through the clamor of the first class of the first day of school. The assembled lower years students quieted down in a reasonable amount of time, so Aaron didn’t feel the need to repeat himself. Once it was quiet enough for him to talk, he started the lesson off. “My name is Professor McKindy. I’m the Head of Cetus House so some of you first years have already met me, but for those of you who haven’t, I’m the Spellwork professor.” Clearly. Okay. “Spellwork is one of the core courses at RMI, so you’ll be seeing me pretty regularly for at least your first three years here. I also teach Animagus lessons to interested students in the older years, but it’s never too early to start preparing if you know that’s something you want to do!
“Spellwork is the most practical class you’ll take here at RMI,” Aaron continued. He knew that the older students had figured that out, but there were probably some Muggleborn first years who could do with the declaration. “That isn’t to say your other classes aren’t incredibly important,” he added, “but most of you will use charms and minor transfigurations regularly in your daily life, even if you don’t choose to live and work in Wizarding communities once you’re an adult.
“Your most important tool as a witch or wizard is your wand. Some of you may be able to learn some wandless magic when you’re in more advanced studies, but for the most part your wand is going to be your constant companion. They are also as unique - and as useful to law enforcement - as a fingerprint. Your wand will hold a memory of every spell you perform, although that memory will fade over time just like your memory will. Each wand is uniquely suited to its wielder, too.
“I know all of you will have visited different places throughout the world to acquire your wands.” There were wandmakers worldwide, and even the American students would probably have visited different locations to get their wands, depending on which part of the United States they lived in. “Each wandmaker does things a bit differently, and uses different components to create the wands. Each wand has an outer layer of wood - which has to come from a wandwood tree, not just any tree in the forest - and an inner core of something magical. Strands from unicorn tails and dragon heartstrings are common in the United Kingdom and its former colonies,” something that Jessie didn’t seem to have realized, which Aaron was eternally grateful for, “but some of you might have a core made of chupacabra fang or warg tail-tuft, or something entirely different. The length also varies, as you might have noticed.” And just skating past the obvious inappropriate joke that he knew some students were thinking about by the grins on their faces -
“Most wandmakers claim that the wand chooses the wizard - or witch - which is a little bit of an oversimplification, but when you got your wand some part of you called to some part of that wand. That’s one of the reasons why a witch or wizard will never be quite as effective using somebody else’s wand. What many people don’t realize is that there are also ways to become more effective with your own wand by understanding what about you makes that connection stronger..” Yes, arguably doing self-awareness exercises with a group of kids thirteen and under was questionable, but Aaron had been doing a lot of work on this topic over the summer and had thought it was fascinating. And if he could give them an edge on their work, why not?
“Some wands - and people - are more suited to Charms in general, while others might be more attuned to spells that touch nature, or spells that make industrial systems work.” Lorraine Taylor, the Magical Sciences professor, was definitely the latter. “That doesn’t mean you can’t succeed at anything you put your mind to! But knowing the factors that are in play when you’re performing any type of magic is incredibly important.” Now that was leading on to a lecture he intended on having with his older Spellwork students later.
“I want you all to get in pairs - I know, first day and it’s pair work already - and figure out what things about you are the things you think make you, you. Write that down, one piece of parchment per group please, and then go ahead and turn to the second appendix in your Spellwork books where you’ll find a chart of wand wood and cores and what traits they’re usually considered to be affiliated with. Please note that on the same piece of parchment, and whether or not you agree.
“Part of learning is questioning what you’re learning, so if you and your partner come to the conclusion that you disagree with what’s listed in the appendix, please write a short paragraph on why. You can go ahead and turn in your parchments at the end of the period.”
Aaron smiled at the group of students, several of whom seemed to be disappointed that they weren’t going to be waving their wands around on the first day of class. Well, Aaron wasn’t worried - they had plenty of classes other than his, and there would probably be some wand-waving and/or explosions in some of them. In fact, Rob Hier was still teaching Potions so the explosions were probably a guarantee - Aaron had heard rumors that the first thing Rob did to first years was set up exploding potions around the room to ‘experientially teach’ why you should be careful during potions class. Perhaps they would be thankful for the peace and quiet of Spellwork by the end of the day after all.
“Go on, get to work,” he encouraged with a wave of his hand. There was faint clattering as writing implements were pulled out and a low buzz as the kids got in groups. Aaron didn’t expect there to be any issues with this particular class, but he pulled out a book and took a seat at the desk at the front of the classroom, positioning himself perfectly to see the students over the top of his book...just in case.
Try to stay vaguely canon-consistent with established wand woods and cores so you don’t trip anyone else up (Pottermore or the HP Wikia is reliable here) but otherwise have fun make shit up if you do anything extra cool add it to our wiki. Creativity = more points, making me laugh = more points, please don’t blow up the classroom kthx.