Counting Down the Dayz: AFT MA Cartoonist Scott Hubeny's calendar a big hit with educators

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Teaching is hard. Even though others may perceive the academic calendar as 180 “short” days, those in the schools know that the days are far from short and that to do the work well requires every day of the year. Some years, and even some weeks, it can be hard to keep a smile on your face through every day.

That is why Boston teacher and AFT MA’s resident editorial cartoonist Scott Hubeny has taken time out of many of his busiest days to put pen and ink to paper and create his popular series 180 Dayz (www.180dayz.com).

As has been seen in our publication for over a year, Hubeny’s inside perspective of what his fellow teachers go through on a daily and yearly basis is accurate and pointed. This, and his willingness to take aim at administrators and activists alike, help make Hubeny’s comics so amusing, even when they depict difficult situations, such as the ongoing fight against charter schools and other misappropriations of public education funds.

Hubeny’s comic has proven so popular among his colleagues that he recently decided to compile some of them in a calendar.

“Quite a few of my colleagues and 180 Dayz fans were asking me when some 180 Dayz merchandize would be coming on the horizon,” Hubeny recalls, noting that, among the suggested items were t-shirts, coffee mugs, and a calendar. “The calendar project really resonated with me as it seemed like something useful to teachers and also something that graphically lends itself to highlighting my cartoons.”

In his new academic year calendar (which is available on the 180 Dayz website and on www.Amazon.com ), each page features a new cartoon that is themed to that time of year. For example, the first September page depicts a teacher returning to their classroom after some time away and getting reacquainted by sniffing the chalk. March offers a guide to what Hubeny suggests to be “The Teacher’s Ides of March.” The page for May includes more than the usual number of days, reflecting how the merry month can feel for many teachers.

Though the cartoons are sharp and sharply-drawn, Hubeny was unsure as to whether there would be sufficient interest.

“I decided to launch a crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter to try to raise awareness and funds.

“Interestingly enough,” Hubeny notes, “the first person to donate to the campaign was not someone I knew or even someone who has been a fan of the 180 Dayz comic strip, but …a teacher all the way from the United Kingdom!”

As more and more of Hubeny’s more local colleagues got wind of the project, they too began to donate and spread the word. Eventually, Hubeny reached his goal and was allowed to proceed.

“Reaching the goal enabled me to print  calendars and send them out to those who supported the campaign,” he says, noting that there are still a few left for purchase.

As each school year and each calendar leads to the next, Hubeny is already hard at work on next year’s edition and on other ideas and projects as well.

“I am part of the Wipro Science Teaching Fellowship,” he explains, “and as part of this Fellowship I need to complete a leadership project that will help teachers and the quality of instruction. My district coordinator and myself decided it would be a great idea to…create a sort of graphic novel that would help new teachers…survive the first few years of teaching.“

Those who wish to submit stories of early education career trials and triumphs are invited to send them to www.surveymonkey.com/r/5H7QYZZ (or to advocate@aftma.net).

“With all that teachers have to face these days,” Hubeny observes, “it is important that they all try to keep a sense of humor and try to find a creative outlet with which they can deal with the stresses that come with serving our students. I hope my calendar can help with that.”