Greater Expectations, Chasing Rabbits, That Dog Can Hunt; Court Reporting, A Surefire Path
~~ Originally published in my column “Beyond The Comfort Zone” within NCRA’s Journal of Court Reporting, JCR
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, and CART 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 broadcast captioners and CART providers (CART captioners), DR (digital recording), 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 readback (her steno practice, drills, tests).
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.”
Respectfully, 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.
After a long silence on her end, she began to laugh, too.
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 shared that she purchased every book “out there” and attended “every seminar out there.”
After attending a seminar, which changed her “entire” theory, currently, this ‘realtiming’ professional with 25 years experience in the courtroom, 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/DR 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 – in short, my words here, where each wants to land with a specific skill-set.
I see similarities working with this student and experienced official court reporter.
Each is sharing facts that I have heard multiple times.
Each repeatedly shares she 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 captioner, court reporter, instructor, and tutor, each stated that she felt “bad” for the other (the student felt bad 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 in court. We are also creating a custom CAT dictionary, so she can realtime – 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 with multiple certs. 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 her/his future while working in the courthouse, for a judge, attorneys, all involved parties.
Can a student move forward without accuracy and speed ability -while- 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 for 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 sign interpreter, terp, encouraged me to stay away from stress while working. (Yes, I softly laughed at the reply.)
I replied, “From your lips to God’s ears – and to 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 expectations are percolating with students, instructors, judicial and freelance court reporters, and CART captioners.
We have great passions and great skills.
Communication is a powerful tool, and I am honored to be among you. Merci.
—-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
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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.
07 Apr 2020