Um yes... they are! I'm from NZ, (still a commonwealth country but with a substancially different approach to lesson observations)! I'll put my hand up and admit that when I first started teaching in the UK I got an unsatisfactory! Of course I did the most natural thing any teacher would do - including many who have contributed to this thread... Had a glass of wine then proceeded to phone all my friends who are also teachers in order to seek some moral support and encouragement. So if I could just have a little rant re: lesson observations in the UK... Is it not a little crazy that you are graded as a teacher based on a 40 min observation? I met a fellow teacher who received an outstanding grade - of course I had to enquire... how does one get such a grade? He had dressed up as Robin Hood and was very good at 'playing the game'. Of course my response was... "oh, so all your lessons are like that"?! Reality is, of course not... and that's what I had I to learn very quickly - you are a graded according to the performance you put on during the short time you are being observed. In the report given to me by the head teacher there were comments regarding things I had not done during my lesson - (mostly about feedback and conferencing during writing)... the most annoying thing is - he had popped into my room the day before and saw that exact thing happening! The moral is: you can't be all things at all times!