In their respective positions as instructional coach, lead teacher, and consultant, teacher leaders are to implement and in many cases, lead educational reforms by modeling and encouraging changes in pedagogy and practice. This complex leadership role necessitates constant negotiation as teacher leaders gauge when and how they may encourage, direct, and support the teachers they work with. Further complicating this role is its non-supervisory nature; teacher leaders are not to evaluate their colleagues for employment purposes nor can they discipline or reprimand them. Instead, teacher leaders must rely on their credibility as experienced educators and their ability to encourage and support. Teachers who move into teacher leadership positions report that this transition is complicated by a need to balance collegial relationships while at the same time provide constructive criticism. This phenomenological inquiry, based upon lived experience descriptions from teacher leaders, examines two of the first interactions of newly appointed teacher leaders: meeting the staff and visiting the classroom. The paper provides insight into the negotiation process teacher leaders go through as they assert and define their role with their colleagues. Dimensions explored include entering new territory, being set apart, encountering skepticism, coming under fire, finding a place, providing feedback, considering the impact, and receiving validation.



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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

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