Sometimes, court reporters and captioners ask me how they can best support court reporting programs and the students who will be the next generation in the field. It doesn’t necessarily take a lot of money or time to help out, as you can see by the ideas below. Try one or more and know that you are helping out the future of the profession.
- Mentor a student. If you don’t live near a school, you can mentor a student from a distance.
- Sponsor a student membership in a state or national court reporting association, or sponsor a student to attend a local, state, or national convention. The excitement of knowing there are other people already practicing in the field can be an inspiration for students.
- “Join” a class. If you are near a school, take your machine and practice with one of the upper level speed classes. Even better, start a practice group for students and dictate to them from the transcripts you’ve completed.
- Bring a surprise to a class, whether it’s ice cream, tacos, or simply coffee – or something else you fancy. Everyone needs a little pick-me-up now and then, and it’s surprising how a little diversion or surprise can help keep students going in a pinch.
- Donate to scholarships, whether through court reporting programs, state associations, the National Court Reporters Association, or the National Court Reporters Foundation. One of the biggest worries for students and new reporters is money.
- Look for a struggling student and see if you can help.
- Support the teachers, too. Take them to lunch and find out what they need. It may be that the stack of steno paper you don’t use now that you’ve gone digital is desperately needed by the class. Or they might need help finding people willing to take on interns. Or they might want someone to give a demonstration of realtime.
- Send the schools dictation. The number one thing that schools ask for is more dictation.
- Stop by a class and talk about your experiences. Your experience as a court reporter may be the very thing the students need to rediscover their motivation.
- Be a part of the school’s mini convention or career day for students.
- Becoming involved with the up-and-comers in the profession will reap rewards for you and, more importantly, the students.
Glyn Poage, RDR, CRR, is an official court reporter from Helotes, Texas, and NCRA’s current Vice President. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.