Fort Worth Real Estate Online


Invert And Multiply... A Personal Approach...

I was just reading an article about fifth and sixth graders, and what they have to do to be successful in school these days.  It reminded me of a small, short chapter of my very own sixth grade career.

There I was... in the sixth grade.  I was one of the shortest, smallest and youngest kids in the sixth grade... which of course made me feel even more inward and self-conscious.

The Sixth Grade teacher... Ms Lang (an old spinster-type, and the sister of the principal... Sister Mary Marcella)... was trying to teach division of fractions to some of the thick-headed boys in the room.  She kept showing them an example of two fractions... and told them to simply "invert" the second fraction, and then multiply to two fractions to get the answer.  Invert and Multiply... invert and multiply...

Well... they still didn't get it.  They were hung up on the word "invert."  She explained again... but to no avail.

Finally... she said she needed an example.  She asked for volunteers, which, of course, produced not ONE hand being raised.  So... what to do.  She called on ME !  She motioned to me to come up to her desk, which I quickly did.  She then called on two of the burliest, hugie-biggest boys in the classroom to also come up to her desk... which of course they did !

She then ordered them to pickl ME up, put me on top of her desk, stand me on my HEAD... and hold me up.  She then told the class that this was what she meant by "invert."  She then had them continue to hold me there... while she worked some more division of fraction problems.  

I have been told that this may have been a "defining moment" in the formation of my psyche... and the way I would view the world from then onward.  

So... if you ever read any of my blog posts... and they sound even a little bit goofier than usual... you have just been told the probable reason why.

Comment balloon 22 commentsKaren Anne Stone • December 17 2008 04:23AM


I hope the experience didn't scar you and can see how it might have been very embarrassing for you. You'd think that the teacher could find another way to demonstrate what INVERT meant.

Posted by Retired Notworking about 12 years ago

What a funny story!  OK... how did your skirt not go over your head?  Did Ms. Lang instruct the burly 6th graders to maintain little Karen's modesty? I am sure Sr. Mary Marcella had requirements.

I am sure there are members of your class who picture little Karen upside down to do fractions.

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) about 12 years ago

Ohmygosh, and I thought I had a bad childhood in school...  this is an example of why the schools cant touch children now.  Upside down on the desk? that is awful.  I would have burned with humilation and embarrassment.   Now after all these years Karen, you can let it go.. out into the rain to disappear like a bad dream.  :)  (Childhood was cruel to some of us)  :)

Posted by South Austin Real Estate Blog (Sky Realty South Austin) about 12 years ago

Ah yes, Karen Ann, blame it on Ms. Lang and poor Sister Mary Marcella. Next you'll say it was that fine Catholic Education or perhaps corporal punishment is to blame...

Posted by Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS, South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker! (Fathom Realty Washington LLC) about 12 years ago

"Catholic Education or perhaps corporal punishment is to blame..." wondering if Paul is saying this tongue in cheek...  from experience... hmmm to someday  share the story of Sister Magdalena's  encouragement of good penmanship or not???

Posted by Maureen McCabe, Columbus Ohio Real Estate (HER Realtors) about 12 years ago

Karen Ann  It is just fine to be an Invert! (lol) or is that introvert!  As a matter of fact, my yoga teacher says that those inverted positions do much good for the body, mind and soul!  So be sure and get your downward dogs in at least once a day!

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) about 12 years ago

That's crazy, why didn't she just say, "Invert means turn upside down?"  What a jerk! 

Posted by Chris Fisher (Your Virtual Assistant) about 12 years ago

You've GOT to be kidding me!  That's an awful experience for a youngster.  I hope all is well and that you are feeling much better.

Posted by Ruthmarie Hicks (Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605) about 12 years ago

That may explain a lot and maybe you might be ready for a Easter Bunny Dinner.

Posted by Todd Clark, Principle Broker Oregon (eXp Realty LLC) about 12 years ago

I think I would have gotten smacked a lot in your school.  LOL  I know my Catholic school attendance only lasted 90 days before I was 'encouraged' to pursue my education elsewhere, and if I had had a teacher do this to me ... I'm sure it would have been a much shorter stay.

Posted by Carol Smith (Casmi Photography) about 12 years ago

Karen - There is one thing I remember from school more than anything else.  It was Mrs. Kane, the 8th grade English teacher, who demanded that we memorize the 22 verbs of being.  "Is-be-am-are-was-were-been-has-have-had-do-does-did-might-could-must-shall-will-should-would."

So why is it after all these years, I can only list 20 of them?

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) about 12 years ago

Ahh, so that is whay you are so............awesome!


Posted by Bo Hussung (Bell Title /Triserv LLC) about 12 years ago

My dear, dear Karen Anne... suddenly so much about you has come into focus for me. :)  Thanks for sharing such an enlightening story!

Posted by Steve Shatsky about 12 years ago

As horrifying as this probably was for you, being an invert yourself, I LOVE this style of teaching.  When I teach anything (mostly music) I do my best to give visual examples, or at least a verbal visual.  You remembered it, and I guarantee you were not the only one in the class who did.  For goodness sake, I just did some algebra refreshers, and I had completely forgotten about inverting until last week!

I love this story.  :)

Posted by Nick and Joslyn Solomon, The Solomon Team - Century 21 Moline Realty, Inc. (Century 21 Moline Realty) about 12 years ago

Karen,  I'm afraid I would have been kicking and screaming.  I hated to be acknowledged that anyone even saw me in school, much less ask a question or pick on me.

Posted by Kay Van Kampen, Realtor®, Springfield Mo Real Estate (RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX) about 12 years ago

Karen Anne, so are you dislexic? That would fit. My third grade teacher use to have a "for real" dunce hat. If we acted out we would have to sit on a chair in the corner wearing that aweful only took one for me ... I never acted out again!

I'll bet the boys had fun! LOL.

Holiday Hugs, Deb

Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 12 years ago

OMG, it just dawned on me. At least they didn't try to MULTIPLY!    *big snicker*

Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 12 years ago

LOL, I have a number of teachers that stand out in my memories, but none that had anyone hold me upside down.  I'm sure I would have remembered that!

Posted by Jeannie Kontis about 12 years ago

Karen Anne, I hope the Nun had the presence of mind to hold your skirt together during this demo!! Did you ever tell your parents? My Dad just might have put sister nunsense on her head!

Posted by Ginger S, Wilmington NC Real Estate & Relocation~ (Wilkinson & Associates, Wilmington NC) about 12 years ago

Karen, My Goodness, today that would be child abuse :)!   I was the smallest in ANY class but I'm sure glad I wasn't inverted!  Merry Christmas to you and a very Happy New Year.

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) about 12 years ago

Karen Anne, that teacher would be hung and made an example of if she did that today.  But what a funny story!

Posted by Barbara S. Duncan, GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR (RE/MAX Advantage) about 12 years ago

I think that I was born inverted.  I do everything differntly!

Posted by Gayle Balaban, E. TN Waterfront Real Estate (The Best Spot Realty/Waterfront Real Estate/Ooltewah Real E) about 12 years ago