When Pam Macias retires at the end of this school year as a physical education and health teacher at Watertown-Mayer High School, its safe to say the world of physical education today looks a lot different than it did when she started 34 years ago.
One thing is for certain: she sure does have a lot more boys in her class these days.
When Macias first took the job at Watertown-Mayer, a first-year teacher from Mankato State University, she only taught girls. At that time, physical education was still separated by gender. It wasn’t until nearly her 10th year on the job that classes became co-ed.
Over the years, Macias, also a former varsity softball coach for 11 years, as well as a middle school softball coach, middle school basketball coach and assistant track coach, said it’s been nice to see the opportunities for female athletes continue to increase.
“(When I started), athletics offered for girls was just starting to change,” Macias said. “I really think we’re very lucky. Our girls are very athletic and have excelled in many sports and have done very well.”
Macias, the only teacher retiring from the Watertown-Mayer district, would certainly be someone to recognize a good athlete when sees one. A 1979 graduate from Mankato, she was inducted nearly 30 years later in the school’s athletic hall of fame. Macias earned a total of seven letters in three sports at Mankato — basketball, volleyball and softball — and was a three-year starter in softball.
Macias, a Mankato native, quickly fell in love with Watertown when she took the job here out of college, so much so, in fact, that she stayed for her entire career. She said she was thankful to the district for taking a chance on a first-year teacher, which went against the district’s policy at the time, and quickly grew fond of the community as a whole.
“I really like the kids, the families, the community and the support,” she said. “I love going outside for classes. We have so much green space, which is just great. And in a smaller district like this, you really know everybody’s name.”
Macias has predominantly taught ninth through 12 grade physical education and health during her years at Watertown-Mayer, but did teach some seventh and eighth grade in hear early years, when the school was still seventh through 12th grade. She said one of the biggest changes to physical education over the years was the introduction of technology, where students are now using iPads to develop and monitor their own programs.
“I do believe that will be the biggest change moving into the future,” Macias said.
Macias said she would miss many things about teaching, mostly the students and her fellow faculty members. But she also said there was plenty of reason to look forward to retirement.
“I’m looking forward to relaxing,” she said. “I’m going to be traveling this summer, and just kind of slowing down.”
Aside from being an immensely popular teacher in Watertown, Macias is perhaps most known for her work as a high school volleyball official. She has been an official for 36 years, and continues to do so. She also served as a volleyball clinician for the Minnesota State High School League from 1983 to 2012, and for many of those years, was the head clinician for the state tournament volleyball officials. Macias ran rules meetings, assigned officials for the tournament games, and was the point of contact for rules interpretations or other questions any officials might have had. She was even inducted in the Minnesota High School Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame as an official and a clinician in 2004.
Contact Matt Bunke at [email protected]