Release Date: 
Tuesday, January 11, 2022

HawkStrong: Amal Harhara balances family, school to become a teacher

A headshot of Amal Harhara.

HFC student Amal Harhara enjoys teaching young minds and helping them lay the foundation to become excellent learners and high achievers.

“About seven years ago, I got a job as a teaching assistant while I was living in Dubai. I worked there for about five years. I loved working at the elementary level,” said Harhara, a special education paraprofessional in the Dearborn Public Schools who will graduate from HFC in the spring, earning with her associate degree in pre-education. This fall, she will transfer to Wayne State University, where she’ll major in elementary education.

“I have benefited so much by starting out at HFC”

An Illinois native, Harhara is the second of six children and a 2000 graduate of Edsel Ford High School. In addition to working full-time and attending HFC part-time, Harhara is married and the mother of four sons, ages 15, 12, 7, and 4. She lives with her family in Dearborn.

“HFC was my first choice, because I have not been to school in a long time. I wanted to ease back in before transferring to a large university,” she said. “I already feel that I have benefited so much by starting out at HFC. The College holds high academic standards which will definitely make me prepared for Wayne State.”

Harhara holds her advisor, Sherry Clippert-Devogel, in high regard.

“I want to give a shout-out to Sherry, who guides me to make the best transfer choices,” said Harhara. “I have also had amazing teachers that motivate me even more to become an excellent teacher in the future.”

Two HFC professors who influenced Harhara

Two teachers who really stand out and made a positive difference in Hahara’s life are HFC mathematics professor Dr. Ali Hariri and HFC Pre-Education Program Director Dr. Carolyn Casale.

“I had Dr. Hariri for two math courses and I truly benefitted from his way of teaching. Mathematics is not my strong suit, and he was able to simplify things and make them very understandable. I also had Dr. Casale last semester for performing arts and humanities. I enjoyed that class so much because I felt that the class assignments were very well thought out and not just thrown together to fill the syllabus. Each assignment is applicable to things that we encounter every day. I felt that I had taken the most away from that class than any other class. Both of these teachers are very passionate about what they are teaching, and the student can feel this. They are both very approachable and genuinely want students to walk away more knowledgeable,” she recalled.

Happy accident

Harhara is actively involved in the HFC chapter of the Future Teachers Association (FTA). By her own admission, how she got involved with the FTA was a happy accident.

“I already have my plate full, so I was not looking to join anything. One of my teachers was offering extra credit last semester to attend one meeting. I attended and benefitted so much from the meeting that I decided to stay on. If not for that extra credit, I would never have thought to join,” she explained. “In these meetings, we have discussed how we can coordinate projects to take place in schools, such as reading sessions and giving away free books. We also discuss our personal experiences and opportunities that we can partake in, such as scholarships and job opportunities.”

A model for excellence

Casale is impressed by Harhara’s drive.

“Amal is amazing,” said Casale. “She is a mom who works full-time and is enrolled part-time. Her attention to detail, strong writing skills, and critical thinking will make her an ideal teacher. She is extremely busy, but she still has found the time to join the FTA. In this capacity, she has served as a model of excellence and a resource for other pre-education students.”

“There is nothing I want more than reaching my goal of becoming a teacher,” said Harhara. “I love working with children and want to make learning an enjoyable experience for them. I had a very inspirational third grade teacher whom I will never forget. I hope that one day students can look back and say the same thing about me.”