“You’re Processing; You’re NOT STUCK” – Court Reporting Students and Reporters

“You’re Processing; You’re NOT STUCK” – Court Reporting Students and Reporters
By Monette Benoit

Copyright by Monette Benoit, All Rights Reserved.

The first email to Monette@CATapultdix.com began as an information-specific request.

I replied to Janet Tilley and offered ‘up’ a firm opinion, which I have ‘owned’ for many years. Her response was so sincere, I asked Janet to permit me to share with you. In my heart, I know students, court reporters, captioners, CART providers and instructors will find what they ‘need to know’ below.

Janet: “I am currently a court reporting student. I am stuck at 170 wpm and am looking for something to help me identify ‘hesitations’. I am enrolled in Chattanooga State’s Realtime Program and starting my fifth semester. I am currently stuck trying to attain 170 wpm.

“Would your products be of assistance to a student? I ordered the ‘CATapult Your Dictionary’ CD Software Program today, and I am looking forward to using it! A reporter returned from the NCRA National Convention this summer and told me about your products. She was very excited about using them and thought the CATapult CD would be helpful for me.”

I read her email and replied, … As a court reporter, private tutor/coach and instructor, may I suggest you avoid the “I’m stuck” thinking. I teach and share when I speak to individuals and to groups that ‘the brain needs to absorb’ what we have ‘in-put’ (a new steno language) ‘as’ we develop skills to work ‘a’ new machine.

“In short, the two new tasks need time to work together, to flow, together, as one. I compare it to: ‘Your mind is like a sponge,’ Teaching 101. You will absorb the tasks needed, as you ‘process.’

“If you’re stuck, ‘stuck’ delays the ‘process,’ in my opinion. When you are processing, time is refocused.”

Janet replied: “Hallelujah and Praise the Lord! That is probably the single most encouraging, sensible piece of advice I have gotten since starting court reporting school. I have always felt my brain and fingers were trying to learn to work together in a totally new way that involved learning a new language, new computer system, keyboard, and putting the two together in a nanosecond! Logically, this would take the brain and motor impulses time to learn and coordinate.

I have heard the ‘stuck’ warnings and stories, and I bought into them. Viewing myself as ‘stuck’ rendered me aimless and helpless, in a mental sense.

‘Processing,’ on the other hand, is a productive place to be. And the truth is, no matter how few speeds gains I have made over the last three months, I have improved in many areas, and my theory has become easier for me. I also seem to have a better understanding of the whole ‘realtime picture’. Thank you for your time and advice. I feel so fortunate to be entering a career so full of caring and helpful people.

Also, I just realized you wrote the wonderful article, ‘Try Harder; Each Time You Try Harder’ in the NCRA January JCR. Your sister-in-law, Wenny, (Tong Sing Jewelry) is an inspiration! I don’t know how she does it every day with a smile, but God bless her!

After I read the article, I thought about trying harder and not being content to plateau. It made me realize how easy it would be to finish school, get comfortable with a system and just stay there.

I realized that to continually try harder and to become better, I need to be on top of industry and technological changes. I need to be willing to continue to learn and change with the industry and customer demands. It makes me feel good to think that even after I am out of school, I will still learn. And process!

I received my CATapult CD. It looks great!!! I think this is going to be exactly the practice aid I have been dreaming of! I love the common words drill! I look forward to getting into the ‘meat and potatoes’ of CATapult CD today. Once again, thank you so much for your advice and encouragement! You are an angel!”

I asked Janet to share her world. “Let’s see, I am 35 years old, and I began my first Realtime Theory semester, August 2003. I attended college when I was younger. I became interested in court reporting in 1994. I fell into a job that I loved, but it offered no opportunity for promotion or change. I became burned out and bored after a few years. During this time I had gotten married.

My husband worked with two men, each married to a reporter. He would tell me about what the wives of these men were doing. So that got me thinking, and before long, we developed a plan that allowed me to quit my job and go to school. It was hard to leave my job. The people were like family, money and benefits were good; but I did it and haven’t looked back! What initially interested me in court reporting was the writer; how could anyone make words by those blank, black keys??? I love to read; I love words. I love hard crosswords, word games. When I learned more about the writer and theory itself, I thought, ‘This is the ultimate puzzle!’ As I learned about the career, the more intrigued I became.

I wanted a job that would allow me to work in different settings, with different people and would always challenge me. This was it!

What really sealed it for me though, was that I could provide other services with court reporting skills. I had been at a job that required a definite set of skills; I couldn’t take those skills and move into another area. With court reporting, I had the option of providing CART or captioning, should I need a change. I have long said that I would love to be a professional student and providing CART would kind of be like that, plus a paycheck! I plan to freelance when I finish school. I would like to get into CART, but that would be on down the road. I like the flexibility of freelancing and varied work settings. I also believe freelancing will offer me the greatest opportunities and challenges to become the best ‘realtimer’ I can be.

I had the privilege of working at a court reporting firm here in Chattanooga, Angel & Associates Court Reporters, the first year I was in court reporting school. I viewed the ‘other side’ of the career. That experience was invaluable! I learned about the daily requirements and job demands, the good and the not so good. I am very grateful for my time there; it has made me even more determined and more resolved to stick to my practice schedule and to keep pressing forward.

My husband is the most supportive, encouraging man in the world. I could never have done this without his help. He has assumed household responsibilities; he’s very understanding during my times of frustration. We have no children, so that does make it a lot easier. However, we have a parrot, the center of the household and our lives, two finches who disregard us until feeding time, and a cat who stays outside during the waking hours of our birds, but comes in at night to sleep on her personal heated mattress (me). I hope this is helpful! Thanks, Monette!”

Yes, Janet, “this is helpful.” You have just ‘helped’ many, many court reporters, students and instructors. You have ‘gifted’ your processing and your world into the universe; I thank you.

An update of Janet’s ‘processing’ and graduation into the court reporting profession – under 12 months from this ‘processing and sharing‘ – may be read in Monette’s Musings: “Still Processing And Snowglobes.”

—– Monette, named the Court Reporting Whisperer by students, may be reached:  Monette.purplebooks@CRRbooks.com

Purple Books – Court Reporter Reference Books & CDs: www.CRRbooks.com   * Advance skills, pass NCRA and State exams the 1st time

Monette Benoit, B. B.A., CCR, CRI, CPE, Paralegal, CART Captioner, Instructor, Consultant, Columnist

Since 1990: Multiple Title Author of Books & Purple Books Test Prep for the Court Reporting, CART Captioning Profession

An American RealTime/Captioning Services, LLC: www.ARTCS.com        Blog: Monette’s Musings, www.monettebenoit.com

Have you failed NCRA’s RPR, RDR, or a State exam?  More than once?   Purple Books “Done in One” has a 98% successful pass rate on exams with sets as evidenced by thousands of students and professionals who pass their RPR, CSR, and RDR exams on the first test.   Testimonials: www.CRRbooks.com.

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About Monette Benoit:    As a 30+ year court reporter, CART captioner, author of NCRA and State test-prep material, instructor, public speaker, Monette Benoit has taught multiple theories, academics, all speed classes, and 225-homeroom within NCRA-approved schools and a community college. She understands challenges many adults face in our industry.

In 1993, she began to CART caption to a large screen for a Deaf mass, San Antonio, Texas.  Wonderful opportunities then presented from Big D, Little D, Oral Deaf, HOH consumers -each with special moments.

Monette Benoit has worked with thousands of professionals, court reporters, CART captioners, students, instructors. She has helped to create new court reporting training programs, worked with federal grants, and assisted instructors in developing curriculum for both in-class and at-home students.

Her one-on-one tutoring, private coaching, has assisted thousands of students, novice and experienced professionals to reach the next level.

Monette’s Musings is an informative, motivational, and funny blog for busy professionals and students who seek to create their success and who seek to enjoy this special path.

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