Professor Nanette Harmon
American Sign Language Professor Nanette Harmon has been teaching at Niagara for five years now and she is definitely one-of-a-kind. Harmon uses her positive, energetic attitude to create a comfortable and fun environment.
“I try and get to know each and every one of my students. It’s the mother in me. Everyone calls me ‘Mom Harmon,’” she says, laughing.
Harmon has hands-on experience with deaf culture. When she was just a child, she was diagnosed with hearing loss. As time went on, she adopted an autoimmune disease, causing her to go deaf.
Harmon showed a great interest in the deaf community. Her sister started teaching her to sign at a young age.
“I first became interested in it when my oldest sister studied deaf education and started signing when I was around 9,” she says. “Anything my big sister did was amazing to me, and she started teaching me to sign. I found it fascinating.”
“It’s a hands-on learning experience,” Harmon says. “When people think of the deaf, they think of people like Helen Keller. There are so many variables that affect deafness. I can’t die till I’ve taught everyone that there is something to know about deafness, because it is so incredibly misunderstood. My goal is to create passion and broaden the view.”
For more information or some interesting conversation, be sure to stop by Harmon’s classroom, where she always provides candy, educational lessons, and, of course, a warm smile.
As Harmon says, “My mom always said, ‘If you can’t dazzle them with your brilliance, bring them food and they’ll overlook it.’ ”