Reprinted with Permission from PETA
The Teacher Spotlight highlights the work of various humane educators, giving them a chance to share their stories and tips and inspire other compassionate teachers like you to take action for animals through education.
For this Teacher Spotlight, we caught up with Cindy Griffith, a middle school PE teacher, humane educator, children’s book author, and passionate vegan from Spokane, Washington. She initially went vegetarian years ago after seeing a PETA leaflet, and her compassionate journey has continued ever since. Today, she (along with her husband and two daughters) embraces a fully vegan lifestyle, and she has been formally trained in humane education.
As a teacher, Cindy is constantly going above and beyond to come up with creative ways to bring animal rights into her lessons. For example, she built her own nutrition curriculum that promotes healthful vegan foods and an active lifestyle rather than using materials that center on disease-promoting meat, eggs, and dairy “products.”She’s passionate about encouraging students to do their own research and come to their own compassionate conclusions. She also teaches by example by being open with students about her vegan lifestyle—showing them how easy, healthy, and compassionate being vegan can be. It’s no surprise that many of her students have stopped eating animals as a result. She also wrote a children’s book called PEACE: Five Tales of Compassion for a Better World, which aims to teach empathy and tackles issues from animal rights to environmentalism.
We were lucky enough to be able to pick Cindy’s brain about teaching compassion, encouraging her students to think about animals, and creating her children’s book as well as her tips for aspiring humane educators. Let her inspire you, too!
"I had the opportunity to take a course through the Institute for Humane Education (IHE). I did a ton of research before choosing humane education, and I am so glad that I did! The foundational goal of the IHE course is to encourage students to become “solutionaries,” so rather than just talking and learning about the problems, students are encouraged to find ways to get involved and solve the problems. I love this mindset, and I want to help my students grow into educated members of this global society and gain a worldview where they are responsible for making necessary change.
Taking classes on humane education opened my eyes, and I made a lot of personal changes during that time, too. I started eating vegan, cleared the leather and suede out of my home, and decided to purchase only products that are vegan and not tested on animals."
To read more: https://www.peta.org/teachkind/get-inspired/teacher-spotlight-cindy-griffith/