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Why I teach

This year I have the privilege of being the Board of Di­rectors liaison to the Teachers Community of Inter­est. What a great group of enthused, engaged profes­sionals. They are passionate about the court reporting profession and dedicated to educating a new genera­tion of court, CART, and captioning reporters.

Many of us can probably identify a teacher that got us through the rigorous travails of mastering that frustrating little stenographic machine and all the knowledge we needed to be proficient in our chosen profession. For me, it was Cathy Logan at Central Pennsylvania Business School. She was the perfect com­bination of drill sergeant and patient nurturer. Without her teaching abilities, I would still be struggling with my 180s!

We asked the members of the Teachers Community of Interest to write a few paragraphs about “Why I teach.” Their responses are heartfelt and enlightening. Maybe it will inspire you to teach!

Tiva Wood
Board liaison to the Teacher Community of Interest



By Janine Ferren

I teach simply because I love helping a stu­dent find success. Whether I am standing in a traditional classroom and being the “sage on the stage” or working in an online course and being the “guide on the side,” there is nothing more rewarding than be­ing there when a student achieves a goal. I enjoy sharing the various opportunities that exist for a career in court reporting to the “maybe I want to be a court reporter” student. In fact, sometimes I think I can barely control my enthusiasm, as I truly believe this is a career that can change a person’s life in a multitude of ways.

Introducing the steno machine and working through those first lessons as stu­dents find they can write sentences within the first week is just plain fun. Reviewing transcripts, helping students hone in on areas of writing that need more atten­tion, directing students to exercises that reinforce concepts, and then watching as students recognize improvement in their writing makes my work worthwhile. Hav­ing the pleasure of telling students when they passed tests – especially that last test that means their schoolwork is officially at an end – is rewarding beyond words. Shar­ing a court reporting student’s journey is a wonderful ride to take.

Being a teacher is not always easy, but neither is becoming a court reporter. I re­late to the students, as I was once in their shoes, banging away on a machine, try­ing to get my fingers to move where they should as fast as they could. I finished a court reporting program, and my memo­ries of being a student are strong. I remem­ber what it felt like to practice for hours on end, to struggle, and then to finally attain my speed and accuracy. I want my students to find that same success and more.

I teach because I appreciate the effort it takes to be a court reporter, because I had good teachers who supported me and I want to continue to pay that forward, and selfishly because I want to be a part of some court reporter’s successful attain­ment of skills. I love to see my former stu­dents as professional court reporters!


By Deborah Jong

I’ve had a lot of teachers in my life. When you consider I’ve been through elementary school, music lessons, high school, college, graduate school, court reporting school, and several jobs, I’ve come across many different teachers, instructors, coaches, and mentors. Most of them I can’t even re­member. But there were a few special ones whose métier was to spark inspiration in their students and affect their lives in posi­tive ways. Those are the ones who really made an impression on me. They didn’t just teach me a subject or a skill; they helped me develop into the person I am.

Being a court reporting instructor doesn’t mean that I am just training stu­dents to become court reporters. As I coach them to develop their steno skills, I hope I am mentoring them to develop some life skills as well. I encourage them to care about the quality of their work, ap­preciate the responsibility of it, and strive to be better at what they do. This can help them in many areas of their lives.

The teachers who I remember most are the ones that contributed to the devel­opment of my character. What they taught me became a part of who I am today. Their teachings made a lasting impression on me. As I work with my students, I want to give them what I appreciated most from my teachers. I, too, want to make lasting impressions on them. That is why I teach.


By Janet Noel

I have been involved in court reporting for 34 years – as a freelancer, official, teacher, and administrator – and I think someone who devotes that much time to the profes­sion has to love it. And I do! The profession has been good to me when I was single, as a wife and mother, and now that my children have left the nest (well, almost!). Finishing school and becoming certified is probably the hardest thing I have accomplished.

As a teacher, I want to share my thoughts, ideas, and observations with stu­dents. I want them to know it is a wonder­ful profession, one that has many avenues. I want them to know that their hard work will pay off. I teach because I want to mo­tivate, encourage, support, and guide stu­dents in fulfilling their dream. I teach be­cause I want them to love court reporting as much as I do.


By Bonni Shuttleworth

Teaching is one of the most exciting ca­reers for anyone to embark upon. For me, there is nothing more exciting and rewarding than to take a student who, in the early days, could not even load paper into a steno machine and, a few years later, see that student become a working profes­sional.

I live in the Chicago area and I see many of my former students walking through the downtown streets of Chi­cago, dragging their “rolly” behind them, dressed professionally on the way to a job. My students are my “punkins” no matter her or his age. I see my job as motivating students as well as teaching them the finer points of court reporting: how to produce a transcript, how to set up realtime, how to deal with the varied situations that might happen in a hearing. My job is also to encourage those students who become frustrated with lack of speed progression. Many students are nontraditional, and I help them deal with life situations that may impede their progress and with family members who constantly say, “You’re not finished yet?” My answer to that is to dic­tate an 80 wpm literary piece and tell them to write it in French at 95 percent accuracy. That’s what we do: teach students to hear the English and translate it into this for­eign language we call “theory.” Teaching students how to manage their time and use it efficiently is a large part of what a teacher does. In a nutshell, I am filled with pride when I see a former successful student, knowing I had a small part in her or his success.


By Carol Crawford

Teaching is an interesting occupation. It is the process of introducing people to un­known subject matter. Different teachers use different methods, but I like to teach in a way that is engaging, inviting, exciting, and invigorating. In my classroom, I try to encourage constant activity within the learning environment. This tends to bring the student into an arena that will capture their attention and cause them to want to learn more.

This is why I teach: I love presenting new information to my students and see­ing their minds open up and engage in the subject being taught. I also love to see the students glean information from each oth­er. When this takes place, it seems that they have taken the information that I shared with them and made it a part of their own knowledge. They begin to add what they know to what they have learned, and I can see them take ownership of that knowledge and grow. This is such a satisfying feeling.

My first desire to become a teacher was when I was in the seventh grade. I had some great teachers in my life. They inspired me so much. I knew then that I wanted to be­come a person who would help to inspire others as well. Although I no longer teach every day, I never turn down a chance to teach when called upon to do so. I will al­ways be a teacher.


By Len Sperling

It all starts with contributing to student success. Through developing relationships, helping students understand concepts, and coaching them to become the best they can be is an exhilarating experience. I get my energy during the day by being with the students in the classroom. Teaching orien­tates me to continuous self-learning and development. If I ask students to give their best, I must also give mine.

Teaching is fun. I laugh everyday with my students. The students keep me young and current with the latest trends and ide­as. Sometimes I feel I am learning as much from them as they are from me. Teaching allows me to be creative and innovative. When the door closes to the classroom, I am given a tremendous amount of auton­omy and responsibility. It’s my opportu­nity to make a difference.


By Sidney Weldele-Wallace, CRI, CPE
2 teach is
+ 2 touch a life
4 ever

The saying above was given to me years ago by one of my students during my first year of teaching. I appreciated the thoughtful gesture and felt pride that I had impacted the life of that particular student in a posi­tive way. In the 22 years since, I have been struck repeatedly by the fact that, as edu­cators, we not only directly touch the lives of our students, but like the endless ripples caused by a stone tossed into the depths of water, we teachers in some way touch the future and impact the lives of countless others through the handiwork of our stu­dents. Our former students, now outstand­ing professionals in their fields, whether working in the judicial arena or in CART/captioning, improve and empower the lives of others by their work every single day. That point was driven home to me on a powerful and emotional level last spring.

My youngest daughter, who is now 19, was born with profound hearing loss. She has worn hearing aids her entire life and received a cochlear implant on her right side last year. She also graduated from a program of study at our community col­lege and participated in the commence­ment ceremony last June. During the even­ing’s ceremony, as a mother, I was beaming with pride for my daughter for overcom­ing so many obstacles and never giving up on achieving her goal of graduation. As a faculty member, I also took tremendous pride in the fact that the realtime CART provider providing services for my daugh­ter was one of my former students. I felt a tremendous sense of satisfaction and fulfillment, knowing I played some small part in setting the career direction of my student years before, never realizing at the time that it would have such a reciprocal and personal effect by benefitting my own daughter. Everything had come full circle!

I teach because I know firsthand that we do make a difference!


By Karen D. Sole, RPR, CRI, CPE

To be completely honest, I originally start­ed teaching to supplement my reporting income, but it wasn’t long before I was hooked. So for me, teaching started out as a job, then evolved into a career, and it is now my vocation.

Court reporting is such a unique and challenging program. As a court reporting student, you have to learn to juggle school with outside responsibilities, learn time management skills, and challenge yourself to go beyond your perceived limitations. As a court reporting instructor, you have to be a teacher and a coach, a cheerleader and a therapist.

I love the court reporting field, and I really enjoyed my own court report­ing education and training. Once I began teaching, I strived to emulate the teachers I had in school who helped me succeed, who encouraged me, who made me believe in myself, who challenged me to always reach farther, and who instilled in me a life-long love of learning.

The sense of satisfaction and gratifica­tion I gain in helping students to not only reach their goals but to challenge them­selves to attain goals beyond their expecta­tions and reach their fullest potential is a remarkably rewarding and extremely ful­filling feeling.