Greater Expectations And Chasing Rabbits
By Monette Benoit
Copyright by Monette Benoit, All Rights Reserved.
Replies continue to arrive and percolate from my NCRA, National Court Reporters Association, JCR column “Great Expectations.” Each day I listen, process and filter information from students, court reporters, CART providers and broadcast captioners regarding court reporting and my tutoring services.
Much current discussion is now at-hand concerning how others view our work. We are experiencing changes in expectations – shifts – from large companies working with captioners and CART providers and ER (electronic recording) companies working in courthouses (and other locations). And we have shifts in contracting, each affecting all areas — as I see it.
Recently, I returned the call from a student. She has been in school for over four years. With much emotion (my phrase, passion), she shared her world. I asked a few questions, including whether she read back.
She replied, “I do not like to read back or see my errors. I do not like to focus on my errors; I have to move forward.”
I howled with laughter. When I could speak I softly said, “You might see yourself profiled in my JCR column.”
She paused for only a moment before assertively replying, “That’s fine. So are you going to tell me how to do this or not?” Immediate laughter exploded, in realtime, from moi.
When we ended the call, a very different conversation had evolved. We had what I call an “accountable dialogue.”
I wished her all the best in her court reporting studies; I did not think I would hear back.
But the next morning I received an e-mail, “I’m ready to begin! Let’s get started! I realized although I’ve been in school a long time, I have much to learn. I want to be a success in this field and will do whatever you suggest to make that happen. What am I mainly looking for?”
I replied, “…Accuracy.”
She sent a lengthy e-mail ending, “What am I looking for when grading my tests?”
I replied, “…No errors.”
Her motivation now is “graduation, employment!”
She is a successful and a wise person; I hear it, see it in her e-mails.
As an afterthought, she casually shared she has a bachelor degree when we next spoke. In Texas we might say, “That dog can hunt.”
That same day, I spoke with an official realtime court reporter who has worked more than 25 years with technical daily events within her courtroom.
Then she purchased every book “out there” and attended “every seminar out there.” After attending a seminar, which changed her “entire” theory, currently she is unable to realtime. Her quest is now “to undo all I’ve changed, so I can realtime in court again.” Her motivation now is “fear of ER in our area!”
I have great respect for each of these ladies, their stories and their reaching out. Reaching out takes courage. While I worked with the student and the official, we focused on details and moved forward with new goals – a new vision – to ensure arrival where each truly desires to be.
I see similarities working with this student and experienced official court reporter. Each is sharing facts that I have heard multiple times. Each one feels ‘bad’ about where they are now.
When I shared with them that I might write this article because it continues to nudge me as a CART provider, court reporter, instructor, and tutor, each stated that she felt “bad” for the other (the student for the official; the official for the student). And each said, “If this helps others, sure, go for it.” So I am.
From my seat I see a student who does not want to look back to see her errors while an experienced successful court reporter is reaching out everywhere to perfect her writing.
I opined with the reporter that she’s like an eager individual in an ice cream factory with too many choices since she has each book, works with each book, then moves to a different book.
The reporter replied, “Too many flavors. I don’t have that problem with shoes or clothes! I’m a train with the switch broke. I’m frozen. I know once you put me on the right track moving forward I’ll be like the Little Engine that Could. I think I can. I know I can…… even if uphill!!”
We selected a book of her choice, moved her away from an entire new theory while working on the job. We are also creating a custom CAT dictionary, so she can real-time – at work and in her court again.
This lady is a success. With years on the job as an official court reporter, her goal to perfect skills determine this to be a fact. And, yes, she is nationally certified. I believe, “That dog can hunt.”
How does this relate to greater expectations? The student desires “good” notes (or “notes just to pass that test”) now and admits she has far from perfect notes. And yet she wants and needs to forge ahead.
The official, in an attempt to write perfect notes, began darting in multiple directions before she settled down to learn a new theory?
Can one learn a new theory in court, full-time, each day after having a dictionary completely changed to achieve that established goal?
All court reporters understand that transcripts must continue to be produced while advancing skills for his/her future with a multitude of valid reasons for the courthouse, judge, attorneys, all involved parties.
Can a student move forward without and unable to transcribe accurately? All court reporters, students and instructors understand when students say, “I have to get out of school.”
While writing this article, I took a call to my office. The caller defined herself as a “former educator.” She asked me questions “about court reporting training, time-on-task hooked at the hip to that machine 24/7.”
She added, “At the school, I think they are chasing a lot of rabbits.”
I thought about the student writing (4+ years), not wanting to correct errors. I also thought about the experienced official (25+ years), darting through multiple books and a new theory.
And I saw a tie-in for the student(s) and court reporter(s) and many of us.
Are we chasing a lot of rabbits to achieve our goals?
Or are we focused on specifics with realistic deadlines while fearful of changes – shifts – that have come or will be here if we don’t achieve that goal?
I listened to the former educator, and gently replied, in part, “This skill is unlike any other. It requires mastering to be successful. Individuals entering this profession and this schooling with knowledge that the pass rate is 95% (or above) in court reporting for each speed class must know this schooling and occupation have a bar of excellence very different from other professions.”
Then I shared this topic with a sign interpreter after she expressed stress and frustrations within the interpreting world. The interpreter encouraged me to stay away from stress while working.
I e-mailed back, “From your lips to God’s ears – and God’s sign interpreters – may it be so.”
Regarding the tie-in and you? Could someone say, “That court reporter or court reporting student can hunt?” Are you chasing rabbits with greater expectations?
I see a surefire path that this shift topic and the expectations are percolating with students, instructors and judicial and freelance court reporters. We have great passions and great skills. Communication is a powerful tool, and I am honored to be among you.
Monette, Court Reporting Whisperer, may be reached: Monette@ARTCS.com and Monette@CRRbooks.com
Monette Benoit, B. B.A., CCR, CRI, CPE, Paralegal
Tutor, Motivational Management & Career Coach,
Multiple-Title Author of Books & Test Prep for the Court Reporting and CART Captioning Industry
Realtime Court Reporter, Instructor, Consultant, Columnist
Court Reporter Reference Books & CDs: www.CRRbooks.com
Blog: Monette’s Musings, www.monettebenoit.com
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As a 25+ year court reporter, CART Captioner, author of NCRA test prep material, and an instructor, public speaker, Monette Benoit has taught multiple theories, academics, all speed classes, and the 225 homeroom within NCRA-approved schools and a community college. She understands the challenges many adults now face in our industry and schooling.
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