Student Spotlight: Meet Marielle Dilks

February 23, 2022 | Michelle Dzisiak

This month we are excited to shine a spotlight on Marielle.

Marielle has always had a passion for teaching but she initially opted for a degree in business.

Not wanting to wait to pursue her dream career in education any longer, Marielle entered our Teacher Certification Program and is now a licensed teacher in Hawai’i.

Today, Marielle teaches Science to middle school-aged students.

She embodies our Teacher Certification Program’s mission – to create a world where every student experiences the power of a great teacher – as she implements kindness, honesty, and strong relationship building in her classroom.


Being able to teach while working towards my license offered a real-life and fresh perspective on how to teach this generation of learners.

Let’s dive in to hear about Marielle’s experience with the Teacher Certification Program in Hawai’i and how it helped her pursue her dream job.

What drew you to pursue a career in teaching? Was this a lifelong dream or a new interest?

Teaching was a dream I had in high school.

Our high school had an elective component in which the course had students running a preschool program 3 days a week.

This is where I had my first taste of educating others. I saw their little faces light up when they made connections or learned something new.

The joy of helping someone educationally grow has been with me ever since.

Why did you decide to take an alternative route to become a licensed teacher instead of the traditional education path? 

I did things differently from the norm.

Married a sailor right after high school, had children, and then went to college.

Unsure what to obtain my college degree in, I opted for the business pathway.

opted to become a licensed teacher because I did not want to wait any longer for my dream of being a teacher.

Has your alternate route to certification been manageable while juggling your other responsibilities? 

Yes, this alternate route to certification has been manageable while juggling life and work.

Being able to teach while working towards my license offered a real-life and fresh perspective on how to teach this generation of learners.

At times I had to juggle of course but in the end, the benefit outweighed the multitasking.

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned so far? 

The most valuable thing I have learned so far about being an educator is that I do not want to stop learning. 

Learning is a life-long journey. Embrace it.

Was there a teacher in your life who inspired you? If so, who was it and what impact did they have on you? 

My 4th-grade teacher Mrs. Harbeseck impacted me the most. I hated school, didnʻt want to learn or do work. 

Mrs. Harbeseck did not give up on me.

Spending countless hours in class and after school to make sure I did not give up and I was not forgotten.

I know I made her frustrated and angry often, but one day my shoes were soaked from walking in the snow.

Mrs. Harbeseck with a smile and kind heart gave me her tennis shoes to wear the rest of the day. 

Something about that small gesture adjusted my attitude from that day forward.

What area of teaching are you specializing in? Why did you choose it?

I fell in love with teaching the middle school-aged, spunky, and funky-smelling students from the first day I was a substitute.

I was fortunate to be a long-term substitute for social studies, English, and health which allowed me to get a taste for those subjects. 

Personally, I am not good with math so I knew that I was not the right fit. 

I did enjoy teaching health so science seemed like a perfect fit.

Being a middle school science teacher is my joy.

Are you currently working in a teaching capacity? If so, could you tell us a little bit about your experience teaching so far? 

I am in my 3rd year of teaching middle school science.

The middle school age brings a roller coaster ride of social and emotional highs and lows due to raging hormones. 

Each day I never know what I am going to walk into, which is what I love about teaching. 

Teaching is not all rainbows and sunshine, I have had my fair share of days when I go home crying. 

I found being honest and open (within reason) with my students about my journey they will open up about their journey.

I can be a better educator when I can meet each student where they are at in their journey.

What is your favorite thing about working with students and/or what is the thing that you’re most looking forward to when you are in a classroom?

I look forward to the giggles; the strange things students say and do. 

As I type right now my students are signing off tune while working on a project. 

I want to create an environment where students can be silly and accepted for whoever they are/want to be.  I want them to be honest too. 

In a reflection for this current project, I asked students: What is science? 

One response I received was “horrible and boring and deserves to burn in a forest fire.” 

Interestingly enough this is the same student who comes to class early every day to sit and talk with me.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about getting certified to teach? 

Teaching is a passion

Yes, there are hard days and disappointing days. 

Pushing through knowing that making the difference in even one student’s life is worth having to do all the added elements that come with teaching.  

Are you thinking about becoming a teacher or making a career change?

Start your teaching career and find teaching jobs with Klassroom. Learn more about our online teacher certification program and become a teacher today!

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