Teacher starts career at Central amidst e-learning


Nathan Yuan

Nathan Dille teaches his eighth period AP Physics 1 rotation in Room 326.

William Tong, Editor-in-Chief & Editorial Editor

Science teacher Nathan Dille’s AP Physics 1 students had to analyze physics concepts in movies, TV shows or YouTube videos as part of their final project last year. One group centered their analysis around his family’s annual holiday tradition, “Dille Dance Academy.”

“My brothers and I were unpacking Christmas decorations and for fun, decided to film a quick dance video,” Dille said. “It gained enough popularity that we decided to do it every year. One group of students calculated some velocities in it, some accelerations, using video analysis software.”

While classes like AP Physics 1 traditionally include plenty of labs, this final project was an example of out-of-the-box activities Dille and other physics teachers formulated to make online and hybrid learning more engaging.

Dille began his teaching career in fall 2020 at Naperville Central, during the height of the uncertainty regarding COVID-19 and reopening schools. He says he wasn’t exactly prepared for online teaching.

“My education up to this point had put values into my teaching such as relationship building with students and making content as accessible as possible,” he said.

Getting to know his students was one of the biggest challenges last year, Dille said. 

Despite the circumstances, Dille was an effective teacher, said senior Damon Chen, who took AP Physics 1 with him.

“Mr. Dille made it pretty easy with all his lessons,” Chen said. “He gave us a take home lab, which was pretty fun. It was a car tied to a string and we were supposed to find the weight.”

A network of support from more experienced educators helped Dille navigate the unusual teaching situation, he said.

“Even with the distance, we still planned a lot together,” he said. “One of the other physics teachers was my faculty mentor. I’d talk through some of the difficulties I encountered that week and ask for advice from a more veteran teacher.”

Like many students and staff, Dille says that he’s glad to finally experience in-person learning and teaching this year.

“It’s much easier to feel like I can invest more into their life outside of just answering physics questions,” he said. “That’s better for them and for me.”