Boy, are there ever some red flags in this thread-from both sides of the equation.
Traditionally, the professional kitchen has been an environment where many chefs view their position as similar to a military general or drill sergeant. Lots of screaming and yelling is supposed to motivate your brigade. I agree with this approach if you need to motivate people to rush into the battlefield and kill other humans. However, this is food service business we're talking about here, not war. I've always believed that the kind of behavior and "motivation" exhibited by your chef is counter productive to running a successful and profitable operation.
Don't get me wrong-I trained in this kind of environment and when I became an EC I followed this model for a while too. But this is a business for profit, and it didn't take long for me to realize that it makes little business sense to treat staff as an expendable supply when your biggest expense is labor. It takes at least 3 months to properly train someone, even if they are talented and somewhat experienced. There are many parts of the operation to learn and figure out how it all fits together. If a new hire is relatively inexperienced, it will likely take even longer for them to become an integral, contributing part of the crew.
For you, as a relative newcomer to the business, to be thrown onto the line making entrees without much training indicates that, from a staffing perspective, your chef is totally "in the weeds" and needs warm bodies to fill slots and probably has trouble keeping staff due to her behavior. This only adds to her stress because she's constantly got a staff that's only half-trained, she's having to fill in the scheduling holes herself, and is probably behind the 8-ball with other administrative duties. Consequently, she never has the time or flexibility to properly train her staff and clearly spell out what the expectations for the job are, how to achieve those goals, and monitor her staff's progress. Meanwhile, she has higher-ups that she's accountable to, as well. It can become a vicious cycle that trickles down to the other staff, hence the eye-rolling you get from the sous. It might not be about you not knowing how to do the plate a dish, but more about what is NOT being done from a larger, operational perspective and the additional load it places on him.
It can be very difficult to fix such a hostile workplace once it's established without some major changes initiated by the managers of the establishment.
That being said, there are some things you can do:
1-what's this about leaning on the bench? Are you leaning there waiting for someone to tell you what to do? or just leaning on the edge of the table as you prep. Either way, it's a habit you should break-RIGHT NOW! Contact from your clothes to surfaces where food is prepped can lead to bacterial cross-contamination and should be avoided.
If you don't know what to do, ask your supervisor what's next on the list-there is always something. If you are leaning on the bench as you prep because you are tired, get a better night sleep, stand up straight and pay attention to your posture. Good posture will give you more energy throughout the day and you'll be less tired at the end. It also communicates commitment and attention to the job at hand. Simple body language.
2-if your chef says you need to learn to speed up, ask what you should do differently to do so-but NOT in the middle of a rush. Ask her if you could spend a few minutes either before or after the shift to go over what works well for her and if she has any SPECIFIC advice about how to work more efficiently within the work station you're assigned to.
3-you can also spend some time educating yourself about the basic tasks you are required to do on your own. I'm amazed at the number of YouTube videos that will show you how to improve prep and cooking technique. But for god's sake, do not throw these at your chef during service. Pay close attention to how SHE does it and follow her example. Keep notes for yourself. Always keep a small notebook in your pocket to jot down things you need to remember until it becomes second nature.
This bugs the heck out of me. It indicates a kind of passivity an a mind set that believes you are unequal to the task or unqualified or less valuable, or something (????)-for the sheer fact that you are female. Spend no more time thinking this way and banish the habit. If it's in your nature to do this kind of work, you will learn it. You will need to make some changes to progress, but absolutely NO ONE drops into any job knowing how to do everything right away. It might not be the right environment for you, or restaurant cooking might not be the right culinary job for you, or the right vocation altogether. But you won't know until you give it a good try. And try you must, until you know for sure.
In your defense, no one should be throwing pans, or anything at you! Chefs who play stupid games to assert their position and "teach lessons" by setting up their employees to be burned should be fired. An effectively operated pro-kitchen is hazardous enough as it is. This kind of behavior increases the operation's risk and liability for injury to staff. If your staff is injured on the job, your liability insurance costs increase. Duh!!! Plus, you then are short-staffed AND/OR have staff unable to work effectively because they're injured, increasing labor cost. It's lose-lose from any way you look at it.
Chefs and supervisors, man-up yourselves and treat your staff with the respect you want. You're more likely to get it if you do.