General Question

AstroChuck's avatar

Why do kids give apples to teachers?

Asked by AstroChuck (36570 points ) November 26th, 2008

Where and when did this start and why apples?

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14 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

It’s a cliche that goes back a century or more. I don’t know if kids really ever did that; maybe in our predominantly rural communities, a little bit of fresh produce from the family farm was a standard courtesy for the teacher, who may not have been paid very much in cash. The cliche has to do with ingratiating oneself with the teacher. It became a graphic convention that tends to perpetuate itself, so that people who’ve only ever seen it done in a cartoon or a Norman Rockwell painting put it into their own illustrations, creating an entire stereotype of something that nobody’s ever seen (just like the little green Martians we’d all recognize if we ever saw one).

arnbev959's avatar

I gave apples to all of my teachers last year!

Mtl_zack's avatar

But one thing that tickles my mind is why doesn’t the teacher have a whole pile of apples on her desk. The entire class should bring an apple, not just one student. Unless, it’s like my school in the 70s when the teachers would make the students run out and get them cigarettes, the teacher makes the students bring a snack each day.

queenzboulevard's avatar

‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away.’ Maybe back in the old days you gave apples to your teacher so he wouldn’t get sick. A sick teacher equals no one learning…

Mtl_zack's avatar

@queenz: haha. I like the pun. A sick teacher equals no one learning.

AstroChuck's avatar

Or course, Ralphie gave his teacher a complete fruit basket.

augustlan's avatar

Because they are little brown-nosers?

galileogirl's avatar

We are approaching the time of year when teachers get greeting cards with candy kisses and candy canes taped on. Seriously I love the personal messages. In June we get cards with senior pictures enclosed. In 18 years I have never gotten an apple.

This week I got a beautiful fall bouquet from a parent.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

There is also the A is for Apple cliche…

MacBean's avatar

I always wondered if it had something to do with the fact that in Western art/culture, the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge is depicted as an apple.

laureth's avatar

Just to add on to the “keeps the doctor away” idea:

Not only does a sick teacher cause a lack of learning, they also increase the cost of health care for teachers which is a tax burden on everyone. It’s a way of preserving the already strapped school budgets, saving money for the taxpayers, as well as keeping teachers healthy (and the other kids, since they all interact with the teacher). An apple a day could be key to public health policy! Perhaps a per diem apple is what will pass for affordable, nationalized health insurance in the future. ;)

shrubbery's avatar

MacBean, that’s what I was going to say too. I thought they represented knowledge.

cak's avatar

@astrochuck…hehehe! Loved the reference.

@gailileogirl – seriously? Not one apple? Wow. My son has insisted on apples, oranges, bananas and I believe one kiwi, too. I hope she likes fruit, because he supplies her with it weekly! He’s in kindergarten…it’s still fun for him! (he also brings her acorns, rocks and one of his action figures. I think it’s love.) :)

galileogirl's avatar

Well most of my students are immigrants or childre of immigrants so that may explain the candy instead of apples. I have gotten end of the year gifts icluding flowers, a tea set, worry balls, teddy bears (!) and last year a potpourri/incense/scented candle set.

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