2 careers, same goal: Connect with others

Former healthcare professional Kelli Factor continues to teach her students to ‘grow’

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Kaya Miller

Helping her students, Health Science teacher Kelli Factor walks around her classroom. In the photo, Factor is working on an interactive lesson. “It’s really, really fun to watch them grow and mature over four years and go out into the world,” Factor said. “You get to keep up with them, see how different they are, how they made it and how they actually accomplished it when you weren’t sure sometimes they were going to tackle the world. But, they do it. I’ve loved getting to know their families. It’s just one of the best jobs I’ve ever had.”

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She’s known she wanted to be a teacher since she was “lil’ bitty.”

Health Science teacher Kelli Factor worked as an obstetric nurse for 10 years before transitioning to education. Now, she continues to grow her love for her students through teaching.

“When I was a little girl, I always wanted to be a teacher or in the medical field,” Factor said. “I always played teacher and all that stuff.”

Factor started her nursing career in 2007.

 “I got in the medical field and worked at a doctor’s office,” Factor said. “She (the doctor) let me go on a delivery with her one day, and I watched it, and I immediately knew that’s what I wanted to do. So, I went to nursing school.”

Mrs. Factor is really flexible. She’ll adjust with us and make sure we are in the right headspace to do an assignment.”

— Catherine Biju, Freshman

During Factor’s time as a nurse, she kept working for that same doctor, who was an OB-GYN.

“She let me go see a baby, and I just thought that was so cool,” Factor said.  “So, that’s kind of the direction I went, and I loved it a lot. But, it was taking so much time against my little kids, so I had to be more involved in their smallness.”

After her time in the medical field, Factor moved to Prosper in 2015. 

“Then we moved down here, and had two boys,” Factor said. “When they were little, I wasn’t able to be around as much as I wanted to be because I was working 12-hour shifts at the hospital, so I missed a lot of getting them up and putting them to bed.”

In her first years in the district, Factor worked as a nurse for Reynolds Middle School.

“I got a job as a nurse at Reynolds, and that’s where I started,” Factor said. “Then, the high school called and said, ‘Hey, we need a health science teacher,’ and I said, ‘Oh, gosh, no way,’ and they talked me into it, and here I am.”

Factor teaches in the health science department as a pharmacology and principles of health science teacher. 

“I have high school students, so we get up early and usually we have to be here for some sort of practice,” Factor said. “We get up here pretty early, and kind of get myself settled.”

Factor starts her first class at 8:35 a.m. every weekday.

“Usually, I get in my classroom and get in the mindset to have everybody come in,” Factor said. “Once we start the day, it just rolls through so fast, and then you know if I need to stay for something afterwards, I stay. If not, I go home and start doing the second job – the mom job.”

Factor said she loved her time as a nurse, but wanted to be more involved in her children and husband’s everyday life. 

“There’s always challenges, dealing with the tough parts of nursing,” Factor said. “You know, the life and death stuff – big challenges are also personality differences. We are all different, so we have to learn to grow with that company, grow your career, and get along with others really well.”

During class, Factor said she usually interacts with her students during the lessons, and helps them out in anyway she can.  

“Mrs. Factor is very kind and funny.”

— Ashton Centrella, Freshman

“I think it starts as a freshman,” Factor said. “They kind of just see if they want to do this – if it’s something they are going to be good at. You can tell the ones that are going to be in this for the long haul, and the ones that aren’t really. And then, I see them with other teachers, because all four of us work together, pretty much. We get to see students throughout their four years, and then we may help them with HOSA events.”

Factor said that she always talks to students about college, nursing or any other topic, – even when they’re not her student anymore.

“I still have students that graduated and still call me for help,” Factor said. “I keep in touch with them forever, and I know everyone else does, too.”

Factor said that she loves creating meaningful relationships with students, and helping them grow throughout their four years in high school.

“I love the kids here. They keep you young,” Factor said. “You guys keep me young, so I feel a lot younger than I am because I get to see y’all here every day and joke around with you. It’s much more fulfilling mentally than nursing was for me.” 

Although Factor said she has faced many challenges throughout her career, she holds her time nursing close to her heart.

“Mrs. Factor is willing to always help and guide you for anything in life.”

— Aliana Vimba, Freshman

“I definitely miss parts of it,” Factor said. “I miss the hands-on part of it, the starting IV’s, the gross stuff sometimes, too, and the surgeries and all that stuff. That’s fun.”

As this school year comes to a close, Factor said she’s glad to have had the opportunity to watch her students grow throughout their high school years. 

“It’s really, really fun to watch them grow and mature over four years and go out into the world,” Factor said. “You get to keep up with them, see how different they are, how they made it and how they actually accomplished it when you weren’t sure sometimes they were going to tackle the world. But, they do it. I’ve loved getting to know their families. It’s just one of the best jobs I’ve ever had.”