For Immediate Release:
September 30, 2022
Lauren Kent 202-483-7382
Toronto – Just in time for World Teachers’ Day (October 5), TeachKind—PETA’s humane education division—has crowned the recipient of its 2022 Canadian Teacher of the Year Award: University of Toronto Schools educator Mike Farley. In his classroom of middle school and high school students, Farley helps young people explore the animal issues they’re passionate about—and by founding an animal advocacy conference for educators, he’s helping other teachers incorporate humane education into their own lessons.
A geography teacher, Farley weaves in animal-friendly teaching opportunities whenever he can. Student projects have included comparing the environmental and animal welfare effects of the meat, egg, and dairy industries to those of the vegan protein industry—and after a field trip to a local donkey sanctuary, students designed their own animal sanctuaries in diverse biomes. Farley has also encouraged students to explore animal issues and form their own conclusions. For example, after a lesson involving the documentary The Cove, about Japan’s dolphin trade and slaughter, several students told Farley that they were swearing off entertainment that exploits animals.
In addition to inspiring other teachers at his school to add animal rights issues into their curricula, Farley founded the Educators for Animals Conference, which brings together hundreds of educators from around the world to celebrate animals and explore how to work animal advocacy into classrooms and school communities.
“Whether he’s starting classroom conversations about vegan eating or connecting with educators from around the world, Mike Farley is teaching compassion for all and helping others do the same,” says PETA Senior Director of Youth Programs Marta Holmberg. “TeachKind is delighted to honor him for building innovative curricula that cultivate empathy and curiosity in young people.”
In addition to a framed “Teacher of the Year” certificate, Farley will receive a gift box filled with goodies, including a “Teaching Kindness Like It’s My Job” mug and a “Bringing Home the Bagels” tote bag.
TeachKind—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. The group offers free presentations, lessons, and other resources to help teachers add compassion to their curriculum.