Transnational experiences of teacher leadership: narratives of South African expatriate teachers.
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Over the past two decades, teacher migration has become popular amongst South African teachers. South African teachers are leaving their home country to go to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country schools owing to better job opportunities and better salaries as compared to South Africa. There are six GCC countries, which South African teachers are being recruited to. Not much is known about the experiences of the South African expatriate teachers, particularly as it relates to teacher leadership. Given this, the focus of the study is to explore the lived experiences of the South African expatriate teachers in the GCC country schools. The purpose of my study is threefold. Firstly, it seeks to make visible the identities of the South African expatriate teachers. Secondly, it explores how their personal and professional lived lives shape their enactment of teacher leadership. Thirdly, it seeks to make visible the enablements and constraints within the GCC country schools influencing the actualizing of teacher leadership. The study uses the teacher identity theory, the distributed leadership theory, and the teacher leadership theory as a lens. The study is positioned within the interpretivist paradigm. Methodologically, the study used narrative inquiry. The study utilized narrative interviews, photo-elicitation, and artefact inquiry to generate field texts. Field texts were then analysed using visual mapping and by finding participants' similarities and particularities of experience. The findings revealed that the South African expatriate teachers possess multiple selves. These multiple selves influenced their teacher leadership enactments in the GCC country schools. Furthermore, organizational culture plays a vital role in the advancement of teacher leadership within the schools, and teacher agency is a driver of teacher leadership in the GCC country schools. The study concluded that the South African expatriate teachers’ multiple selves become an asset in their practices of teacher leadership. Additionally, they exercised their agency by transforming themselves from primary agents to corporate agents to advance their teacher leadership practices. The study contributed to a ground-breaking phenomenon in educational leadership research on teacher leadership and South African expatriate teachers in the GCC country schools.