Teacher Leadership in the Borderlands: An Autoethnography of a Science Teacher Leader's Evolutionary Process



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Research in teacher leadership has been around for several decades, and its scope has changed. The recent resurgence of teacher leadership focuses on the impact of teacher leaders beyond the classroom. Teacher leaders play a dual identity via their position as pedagogical practitioners and leaders within a campus, district, region, or state. Teacher leaders make in impact in and beyond the classroom. We need teacher leaders to take on non-administrative leadership roles and assist with student and colleague achievement. I was one of those teachers who transformed and stepped onto such a leadership platform to help our students and school community. It was then I began to acknowledge my role as a teacher was changing. I was engaged more outside my classroom and incorporated myself into leadership spaces. This introspective ethnographic analysis of my transformative and evolutionary journey into teacher leadership through the data collected, spanning from my pre-teacher years to the present, in the form of text, which for this study is any written material deemed relevant to the investigation composed from various sources such as myself, students, colleagues, administrators, central office district personnel, state education employees, family members, spouse, mentors, and others highlights its impact within a Borderland community. These pieces of text included but were not limited to transcripts, notes, writings, letters, artifacts, media releases, letters of recommendation, colleague and student statements, and social media postings. By using Burrow’s cut-up method, I could assess the transformation’s impact a science teacher leader can have on the Borderland community. Given that a Borderland community is a place of intersectionality between two countries (i.e., the U.S. and Mexico), it also provided a rich context and unique environments to evaluate my journey in developing my science teacher leadership identity. From the collected data, a conceptual framework outlined ten key facets/themes defining my evolutionary journey into science teacher leadership. These seven facets served as the foundation of my journey’s framework via seven thematic poems. These seven facets are Latinidad - Familia - Experiencias de la Vida – Lived-and-Academic Experiences, Pedagogical Efficacy, Spatial Aptitude – Agency, Policy Cognizance, Advocacy and Policy Awareness, Professional Identity, and Teacher Leadership within a Borderland Community. The existing literature affirmed each theme/finding. This study illuminates the importance of science teacher leadership within the Borderlands. It sets a foundation for future research and professional development opportunities to nurture science teacher leaders within Borderland communities.



Teacher Leadership, Science Teacher Leadership, Borderlands, Cut up Method