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Apple For a Teacher

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Apple For a Teacher

Post by dah_men on Mon Dec 20, 2010 9:58 am

The apple is a
symbol for teachers and teaching — students have given shiny fresh apples to
their teachers on the first day of school for over a century. But exactly how
the apple earned this distinction is not entirely clear.

The most common
explanation is that in the 16th through 18th centuries in Denmark, Sweden, and
the United States, poorer farming folk would pay their children's teachers with
food - most notably with common and plentiful apples and potatoes. Another is
that farmers gave teachers this food to supplement the teachers' low incomes;
as teachers' wages went up, the amount of food went down. Eventually, students
brought in that one apple out of tradition more than anything else.

Another consideration is
that in the retelling of the story of Adam and Eve, Eve is said to have eaten
an apple from the Tree of Knowledge. The apple is not actually mentioned in the
book of Genesis; only "the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge."
Regardless, the apple story stuck. Since teachers offer knowledge to their
students, the apple -as the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge — makes the perfect
symbol.

Some people point out
that, when young children learn the alphabet, each letter is associated with a
word they already know: A is for Apple, B is for Ball, and so on. So the apple
is a symbol of the letter A, which is also the grade that most students
want. So perhaps some students came to the conclusion that if they gave their
teachers an A at the beginning of the school year, the teachers might
return the favor and give them an A at the end of the year.

This type of early
"kissing up" led to the term apple polishing, a.k.a. brown-nosing,
or offering up gifts or false flattery in hopes of gaining favor.

Thousands of
teachers receive shiny new apples at the beginning of every school year.
Although they may have secretly hoped for an Apple iPod instead, this fruity
gift is still appreciated. By giving your teacher an apple on the first day of
school, you uphold a centuries-old tradition, make your teacher feel
appreciated, and get the year started off right.

dah_men
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