Recently, I've been doing a lot of formal teacher observations. Throughout the year I do multiple short walkthroughs (though never enough), so I already know what to expect. The formal is really putting icing on the cake and an enjoyable learning experience for me. It always surprises me when these mostly veteran teachers share with me how nervous they are during observations. Maybe it is because our district does not allow for prior notice, but I think it is just a natural reaction to being observed.
As I reflect on my own classroom experience, I remember that I usually enjoyed being observed. It wasn't that I relished an audience (though that is partially true), it was more that it gave my students a chance to show off. As a Science teacher, at least part of each class was lab-based and my observer would rarely just sit. More often than not, they ended up interacting with students just as I was and became learners themselves.
Still, knowing that someone can enter the room to observe at any time means that you have to be on your A-game every day, every class, every lesson. Pondering that thought made me realize this important truth: Teachers are observed every day. Not by administration, but by children. Young faces are watching our every move and determining if we are worthy of their time. They are judging the lessons we deliver and making decisions about whether they will learn what we present. There are future teachers in our midst who may be developing their own style based on what they see in us. Whether we like it or not, what we as teachers do every day is on display.
So, let's treat every day as observation day. It will keep us on our A-game and let us do what is best for kids.