I am a new teacher at Malden High School this year, so it's a year to continue lessons and ideas that have worked for me in the past and try entirely new routines and systems.
I am finding that our department shares ideas and works together to achieve more: shared rubrics, shared diagnostics and midterms, shared grading categories and terminology, everyone prepares their students for the Poetry Out Loud contest, etc.
As an older teacher, I didn't know how I would feel about it, but I love that so many good decisions have already been made for me. It's so great to have a whole group of people I can turn to for advice and materials.
Another aspect of our work is independent reading. We schedule time every week for silent reading time. I've been trying to expand my classroom library, so today I took a trip to a local Used Book Superstore. Awesome! So many books for cheap. The excellent organization helped me find some of my kids' favorites.
Hope everyone is enjoying the new year!