Journal of Educational Change vol:15 issue:2 pages:203-230
The phenomenon of teachers taking on leadership tasks beyond their classroom duties has become widespread internationally. While presented as a catalyst for educational improvement, it blurs the traditional division between teaching and leading and therefore challenges the conventional professional relationships in schools as well as the professional self-understanding of teacher leaders. This article reports on an exploratory study of the perceptions of teacher leaders in Flemish primary and secondary schools. By conducting semi-structured interviews of 26 teacher leaders we collected data concerning their tasks, the consequences for their social-professional relations with teacher colleagues and school leaders and for their professional self-understanding. From a micro-political perspective, the results demonstrate how teacher leadership introduces new structures of interactions in schools that makes teacher leaders find themselves continuously juggling between two different agendas of professional interests: obtaining recognition as a teacher leader by their colleagues as well as maintaining their social-professional relationships with their colleagues.