Why Teachers Like Apples Tradition And Its Roots

Why Teachers Like Apples: Tradition and Its Roots

  • Introduction

    A teacher with an apple is a common combination in popular culture. It has been a custom to give teachers apples as gifts for decades. That tradition became a trope in visual art and was even commemorated in songs. However, not many people know how that tradition got started in the first place. One of the reasons is practical, as teachers had to accept apples out of necessity. The other reason is philosophical and traces its roots back to the Biblical story of the Fall. If the origins of this particular story are traced, it becomes apparent that the entire philosophical premise of it is based on a mistake.

    Main body

    In the present, teachers are employed and paid in money, and schoolhouses are state property. Education is tightly regulated, and the federal budget is diverted towards the schools to make them function. That was not always the case, as public schooling in America began even before America became independent. Several hundred years ago, schools were much smaller, and educators much poorer.

    Some towns inside the North utilized tax money with regard to financing their colleges if their populace was large plus prosperous enough (Vinovskis 24). However, frontier settlements often can not afford in order to do so, plus they had to aid the teacher by any means they could. Numerous teachers in countryside America, being not really much best compared to the farmers, worked well for room plus board. Giving educators apples at that will time had not been the custom, but the vital necessity (Stone). It was not really only apples that will the children might bring them, yet apples were important another reason: lager.

    In historic times, water-borne illnesses were prevalent, plus the existence associated with germs was nevertheless a mystery. In order to combat these illnesses, people drank diluted wine, cider, plus beer, as the particular production of those drinks killed unwanted organisms plus ensured a lengthy rack life (Curry). Which was the case within Ancient Egypt, mainly because well as within Medieval Europe, plus, subsequently, in Colonial time America. During the particular early Colonial period, one of the particular most popular drinks was hard apple company cider, and apple company trees were brought in from Europe simply by the first settlers for its manufacturing.

    Most funds had apple orchards, and cider building was an helpful method to both protect the apple harvest and make a safe beverage for consumption (“History of Cider”). Teachers were not exempt from this, and it is hypothesized that they made cider from the apples they received from their students’ farmsteads along with other foodstuffs (Stone). Cider was also used to pay tithes and rents, so making it could provide the teachers with a roof over their heads and a valuable trade good to support themselves instead of actual money.

    Many view apples as a healthy and delicious snack, and jokingly say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. That is the relatively modern creation which was marketed in order to Americans for financial reasons. As tolerable water was getting more commonplace plus illnesses were avoided by the increase of germ concept and sound clinical practices, the want for an intoxicating alternative dwindled. The particular Temperance movement as well as the subsequent Prohibition legislature severely damaged the particular cider-making industry, which usually threatened apple maqui berry farmers and their livelihoods.

    They quickly created sweeter types of apples that will tasted better natural and designed a marketing campaign that distanced them from lager production (Binkovitz). Simply by that time, educators were paid much better than within the Colonial time era, so apple company gifting became the symbolic gesture that will benefited from your apples’ newfound status because a delicious plus healthy snack.

    The tradition grew to become so prevalent it became an idiomatic expression. Bringing the shiny and tasty apple to one’s teacher was not really just a sign associated with respect but furthermore a way in order to earn the teacher’s favor and make sure more benevolent grading. The term “apple polisher” was in first used within the academic framework to mean “teacher’s pet”. In the particular XX century, that will term became even more widespread and required a meaning similar to “bootlicker” within a political framework (Treguer). From becoming a noble factor to a non selfish teacher’s survival, pears became an indication of deceit plus corruption, however small.

    Aside through the practical factors with this custom, this also has biblical roots. Lots of people presume that the Woods of Knowledge, upon which the Forbidden Fruit grew, was an apple tree. What cursed Adam and Eve with the original sin also gave humans the knowledge of evil, or, perhaps, knowledge in general. This symbolic nature of the apple might be why people connect it to teachers.

    It makes perfect sense in the context of Colonial America, as the nation has been deeply religious throughout its existence, and the first settlers belonged in order to a Christian sect. Throughout human background, the Bible offers been the almost all influential book that will many people discovered to read through, as education has been often performed within churches. The earlier American settlers were known to educate youngsters themselves, and, becoming religious, they incorporated their values plus stories in their own children.

    Often, the daddy of the particular household would train the children literacy and religion, as well as the two went together. In the mid-seventeenth century towns associated with more than one hundred households were required by law in order to have a college, and these colleges were expected in order to teach children the particular religious practices that will parents sometimes declined (Vinovskis 22). With regard to these reasons, this is safe in order to assume that many, if not almost all, knew the biblical stories of Hersker and Eve plus the Tree associated with Knowledge, by the particular time the training profession became typical.

    Curiously, the particular early versions of this story never which the Tree has been an apple woods. King James Holy bible calls it “fruit”, just like many some other versions from the Holy bible. There are brutal arguments over which usually fruit it has been precisely, and views vary from figs to whole wheat (Maller).

    That uncertainty survived via several translations from the Scripture, but within the IV hundred years, Pope Damasus asked for a translation through Hebrew to Asian. Jerome, a biblical scholar, took the particular task, so when this individual was confronted along with how you can translate the particular Hebrew word with regard to “fruit”, he selected the Latin term “malum”. One significance for it will be “evil”, “harm” or even “disaster”, which spots additional sinister importance upon the fruits from the Tree. On the other hand, nevertheless , it designed “fruit” at the particular time, as do the other comparative words used inside Hebrew or Ancient greek versions from the Holy bible (Martyris). As time passes, nevertheless, the meaning associated with “malum” changed in order to mean “apple”, plus that may have affected later theologians.

    The Latin term “malum” arises from the particular Greek word “melon”, which means possibly “apple” specifically, or even “fruit” in common. That word has been chosen by the particular translator likely due to the fact of the Ancient greek symbolism of pears, rooted in Ancient greek religion and folk traditions. Prominent examples associated with such symbolic symbolism are an enticement, desire, and desire. Some apples inside Greek mythology started significant conflicts, other people were given in order to each other simply by lovers as the symbol of really like, and some kept mystical power (Littlewood 155). This symbolism lends itself nicely to the story of eating a powerful fruit with one’s lover after being tempted by a vile serpent.

    By the XVI century, the apple became a trope in visual art and most likely influenced Milton’s “Paradise Lost”. He was a scholar, well-versed in languages, and familiar with many different versions of the Scripture, so he was most likely aware of the many meanings of the word “malum”. He used the word “apple” several times throughout the poem, but at his age, the English word “apple” had a similar meaning to “malum”, and could be used to describe any fleshy fruit with seeds (Martyris). However , by the time Milton’s work was read in American households and churches, the meaning of the word shifted, and illustrations were produced, firmly cementing the Forbidden Fruit as an apple.


    The tradition of giving teachers apples as gifts dates back to ancient history and Biblical stories. However, the Tree of Knowledge is unlikely to have been an apple, and its depiction as such is a product of language transformation, translation inaccuracies, and cultural movement more than fact. The more practical roots of the tradition that are rooted in American history, however , are difficult to dispute. Even though the custom is in part based on fiction, the fact is simple: apples are healthy and delicious, and giving them to people is sure to make somebody’s day a little better.

    Works Cited

    Binkovitz, Leah. “Why Do Students Give Teachers Apples and More from the Fruit’s Juicy Past. Smithsonian. 2012. Web.

    Curry, Andrew. “Our 9, 000-Year Love Affair With Booze. ” National Geographic. 2017. Web.

    “History of Cider. ” Washington State University. Web.

    Littlewood, Antony R. “The Symbolism of the Apple in Greek and Roman Literature. ” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, vol. 72, 1968, pp. 147–181.


    Maller, Allen S. “What kind associated with tree was the particular tree from the understanding of good plus evil? The Times of Israel. 2016. Web.

    Martyris, Nina. “‘Paradise Lost’: Exactly how The Apple Grew to become The Catch. NPR. 2017. Web.

    Stone, Sarah. “Why Teachers Are Associated With And Traditionally Given Apples. Today I Found Out. 2014. Web.

    Treguer, Pascal. “Origin of ‘Apple-Polisher’ (A Person Who Curries Favor). Word Histories. 2018. Web.

    Vinovskis, Maris (1987). “Family and Schooling in Colonial and Nineteenth-Century America. ” Journal of Family History, 12(1): 19-37.

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