Here is a biography from Diane, a Mandarin Chinese teacher in Chicagoland:
I grew up in Ohio and majored in East Asian Studies in college (Wittenberg University, 1995) and had a few jobs and other studies after college. I lived in Yunnan Province, China from 2001-2004. While in China, I took one-on-one classes and then worked with a poverty alleviation organization, including a dab of English teaching and a lot of work with local women who made beautiful, hand-stitched crafts. I met my husband on an extended trip back to the USA in 2003 and we got married in 2004. Besides continuing to learn Chinese I have recently begun gardening, which has been great fun, and raising laying hens. So we enjoy a more countryside type of life.
I’ve been teaching Mandarin Chinese since 2006 or so. I’ve taught adults informally, high school classes before the normal school day, and 5th through 8th grade. I’ve also an after-school Chinese program for kindergarten through 2nd graders which was definitely my least favorite. I am now teaching Mandarin full-time at a preschool-8th grade private school, and in 2012-13 I’ll be teaching exploratory Chinese to 4th and 5th graders, and proficiency Chinese to 6th through 8th graders. The difference is that “proficiency” means they’ve chosen Chinese as their study for 3 years.
I came to learn about TPR many years back in my own language study years. Back in the USA, somehow I heard about the development of TPRS. In 2010 I attended my first conference introducing TPRS (with Katya Paukova, organized by the Wisconsin Chinese Teachers Association). I loved it and began trying to incorporate TPRS ideas into my teaching right away. Over time I’ve had more training and have improved, but still consider myself a beginner. In the 2012-13 school year I’m aiming to make TPRS and CI how I teach Chinese. There is, at least at present, the expectation that I’ll use the textbook Zhen Bang! for 6th through 8th grades. The French and Spanish teachers use EMC Publishing textbooks and the thought is that we seem equally rigorous in our courses if we all have an EMC textbook. So I’m planning to use that as a source of vocabulary, an occasional activity, an explanation of culture, etc. but to teach using CI plus Personalization.
Side note: I spent 6 weeks in the summer of 2012 in Changchun, China, with Intensive Summer Languages Institute (ISLI), a program sponsored by the US State Department. If you’re an American and non-native speaker of Chinese, you might consider applying! It was a great experience and a big boost to my language ability. All expenses were paid by the program. Feel free to contact me for information or just search for ISLI online.