He couldn't wait for the first years to arrive. He had thought about it over night and decided that he would give a different task to McGonagall, to see where she stood. The first years arrived and settled down. ''I hope all of you have been practicing the spell, today we resume what we had started yesterday; you will change your match into a needle'' he waved his wand and the match boxes made its way through the aisles. ''Ms. McGonagall, I have a different task for you. This will be a little harder than yesterday but I have confidence that you will achieve it by the end of the class.'' Dumbledore took a small jar off his desk and put it on hers; there were a dozen beetles in the jar, crawling over one another to get out. ''Be careful when you open the jar, they don't like being in there. You will change these beetles into buttons. Any kind you like, as long as it is a button'' he explained. He then explained the spell and demonstrated before leaving her to it.
As the previous day, he made his round slowly through the aisles, happy to see that these first years actually did do their homework. A couple students had managed to turn their matches into something gray. It wasn't a needle, it wasn't a match but something in between the two. It was still a good start. He let them continue and decided to return to his star pupil. She was reading her book once more, all beetles had been transfigured into buttons. He smiled and headed over to her, ''well done Ms. McGonagall'' he said as he examined the buttons. She somehow had changed the beetles into different kinds of buttons, ''20 points to Gryffindor'' he said before bringing her more beetles to practice on. By the end of the class, she had mastered the spell and had transfigured over 25 beetles.
It wasn't unheard of, there were many teachers who favored particular students. Dumbledore never really had a favorite student, preferring to equally favor his students, but this young girl had changed all of that. She had become his favorite student at the end of her second day, and by the end of the first week, she was the favorite student of all teachers.
They all praised her intelligence, how good she was with spells and wand work, how well she did her homework. None praised her more than Dumbledore, who favored her more than any teacher, without showing it much. Each task that she was given impressed him more and more. He became even more impressed when she let down Slughorn when he tried to recruit her into his Slug Club. Every night he stared at the ceiling in his chambers and tried to find new challenges for his star pupil, but no matter what he brought her, she always achieved them in the first 30 minutes of class. He was proud and greatly impressed by this young girl who had an iron will. 'She will achieve greatness one day' he thought to himself before closing his eyes and letting himself fall asleep.