Your Dream Is Your Goal

Your Dream Is Your Goal
By Monette Benoit

Copyright by Monette Benoit, All Rights Reserved.

Have you shared a thought, an opinion, and later discovered a seed has been planted? Seeds then grow. And one day, we hear something we said has changed a path.

NCRA’s 2005 Teachers Workshop held in McLean, Virginia, for court reporting teachers resulted in a seed; many hearts and “ears” were involved in this seeding.

My topic for the workshop October 15th, 2005 was “Dictionary Maintenance And What Teachers and Students Need To Know To Assist CART Consumers.”

I brought my ten-year-old nephew. Thomas attended the 2005 Texas annual convention, and he’s accompanied me on CART captioning jobs where Tom has guarded my equipment. Thomas uses sign language and is comfortable with Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals.

Thomas sat in the front of the room as I spoke – this shy child working to overcome stage-fright so severe he has problems each Sunday at the altar. He assisted Gayl Hardeman in her seminar by handling the PowerPoint presentation as her assistant. I watched from the back of the room.

I discussed activism, one of four topics I also shared with the 2005 Iowa Court Reporters Association. Teachers are activists assisting students in reaching goals. As activists we draw attention, we focus, and we make noise.

An activist never relinquishes dedication, focused focus – in this instance, working on a dictionary, how to write words, how to focus on transcribing words, if in the dictionary – or not – transcribing, reading back that word, accurately. Activism is in classrooms, I believe, and the workplace as wordsmiths diligently labor to capture words, to record events, history.

I shared specifics on how we motivate and assist students and reporters with daily and weekly dictionary maintenance.

As I began the CART captioning section of this workshop, Thomas rose from his seat at my left and stood to my right with his hands crossed in front of him.

I shared with the audience that sign interpreters translate a foreign language. The National Center for Health Statistics under U.S. Department of Health, Human Services notes, “Approximately 34 million Americans have significant hearing loss – almost six million are profoundly deaf.”

I shared differences between cultures. A deaf person usually has not heard sound. Deaf may be considered legally deaf or proficient in hearing a few sounds, but not able to ‘tie’ sounds together. There’s a huge culture with the Deaf community – many do not want to be “fixed.” Their first language often is sign language, not English.

In many instances, CART is not the best accommodation. There are 22 sign languages; American Sign Language, ASL, is most common. Reading levels differ among cultures. Captioning is improving reading, but ASL, a conceptual language, may still be the person’s first language – not CART.

The key question: What’s the first language, sign or English?

Deaf babies are not typically born to deaf parents. Ninety percent of deaf children are born to hearing parents. Children may become deaf through illness or injury. Many Deaf parents pray that their child is born Deaf. When a hearing child is born to Deaf parents, that child will have a life and a culture that is usually “away” from Deaf culture.

I still remember one deaf couple I met; one parent uses ASL, the other Signed Exact English, SEE, which are different languages. Together they are learning signs, a new language. Their 17-month-old hearing baby communicates with ASL and SEE.

The child has never had a tantrum.

I asked, “Why?”

They replied, “The baby knows ‘crying’ won’t receive a response and signs complete sentences with requests, comments.”

People who are hard of hearing usually have heard sound, may wear hearing aids to enhance sounds, and may choose a cochlear implant, which requires relearning how to hear sounds. Oral deaf usually do not sign; they read lips and communicate without sign language.

Deaf and HOH, hard of hearing, use lights and vibrators, for alarms, doorbells, smoke detectors and phones. Many now use beepers, BlackBerries, text messaging, computers, communicating via computer keyboard without assistance from hearing. TTY relay state services are experiencing fewer calls because of computer technology.

To receive a sign name, one must be gifted by Deaf. My sign name is a dancing ‘M’ in each hand at waist level. This is unusual as most signs are displayed at neck or face level.

CART may be one-to-one, one reporter writing on one computer for one viewer or one-to-many, which is writing for multiple viewers.

I shared my belief with the teachers: Students should not practice on people who need CART at work or request class transcripts.

Why should a student provide a record for someone who needs a verbatim transcript?

Students do not practice as court officials. Students intern with a trained reporter. My belief evolved after working with people who are Deaf and HOH, 13 years, listening. We have much to learn from people who need our ears.

What is necessary before a CART request? We need to understand differences among cultures. CART is not the first language for a person with ‘sign’ as main communication.

First, I shared we have dreams and then goals. We work to achieve a goal. Working toward a verbatim text is a goal students and reporters always strive to achieve.

I watched teachers laugh at the end of my seminar and looked to my right. Thomas was solemnly nodding as I shared about CART captioning and consumers, which are topics he’s known since he was four.

Now I share “your dream is your goal.”

After we flew home, Tom wrote the following project for his computer class:

One day a cat, Steno, was sleeping. When he woke, Steno realized he had the same dream he had before. So, Steno asked his friends about this dream. They said, “Go to a cataulligist.” So Steno asked a cataulligist.

The cataulligist said, “You have a goal. That’s why you have that dream.”

Steno asked, “I have a goal? What is my goal?”

“Your goal is your dream.”

“My goal is my dream?”

The cataulligist, “Yes, your dream is your goal.”

“So, what do I do with my dream?”

“You do what your dream is.”

“So, you’re saying I should do my dream? What if my dream is a bad dream like a nightmare?”

The cataulligist, “Then don’t do it.”

“But you just told me to do my dream.”

“That was before. What is your dream about?”

“My dream is to become a court reporter.”

The cataulligist asked: “So, that’s your goal?”

Steno answered, “Yes! My dream is my goal, to become a court reporter!”

Thomas’s green project cover “The Dream” has a cat sleeping with a bubble above its head. Inside the bubble a small person is seated on a large chair, reaching out to a large steno machine on a tripod. The cat has a large smile on his face. The End.


Monette, named the Court Reporting Whisperer by students, may be reached:

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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

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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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