Middle school physical education teacher Steve Chen is leaving next year to “give the insurance business [his] full attention,” he said.
He has worked at Farmers Insurance for the past five months as a producer agent.
“Basically, I am able to sell insurance, [whether] home, auto or commercial, and basically I am the one that is able to enforce, or bind, as we say, a contract,” Chen said.
“I [have] the opportunity to stretch my skills outside of school,” he said.
“I’ve been doing what I love, impacting students. And now I can have a bigger impact on families: educating people, helping people.”
Chen started his coaching career 19 years ago.
“I was first hired at Harvard-Westlake as a walk-on for volleyball,” Chen said. “I was the JV head coach and varsity assistant coach for my first six years with the boys’ program.”
Besides volleyball, Chen has also coached basketball, golf, tennis and a year of football, he said.
He is currently a PE teacher, as none of his sports are in season.
Chen coaches outside of school as well.
“I can never get tired of sports,” Chen said. “Playing sports just takes me to a different place, a place where I don’t have to worry about the stressful real world, a place where I can feel young and really just be truly happy because I’m doing things I really enjoy, which is playing sports and being challenged.”
Chen’s love of challenges pushed him to persevere even after he injured himself while playing basketball.
Even after needing a titanium plate and four screws in his neck, Chen kept playing.
“Once you’re an athlete, you’re just 100 percent, like when you play an instrument,” he said.
“You go with it. You don’t know anything else. It’s who you are as a person and an athlete.”