Why Do Students Give Teachers Apples?

Why Do Students Give Teachers Apples?

Why Do Students Give Teachers Apples?

There are two theories as to why students give teachers apples:

  1. Apples are considered to be a symbol of knowledge and wisdom. 
  2. Apples were once given as a form of payment for education.

The exact reason why students give teachers apples is actually unknown, and we cannot be certain why.

However, these two theories are agreed to be the most plausible and likely reasons. 

So, why do students give teachers apples? Let’s find out…

VIDEO: Why Do Students Give Teachers Apples?

Theory #1: Apples Are A Symbol Of Knowledge And Wisdom

The first theory which aims to answer the question, why do students gives teachers apples? is based on apples being a symbol of knowledge and wisdom. 

This is evident in many religious and mythological texts, stories and artwork.

The most obvious example would that of the forbidden fruit in Genesis, where Adam and Eve eat an apple from the forbidden tree. 

Another commonly referenced example would be Sir Isaac Newton, who began to explore the concept of gravity having seen an apple fall from a tree to the ground. 

Other examples can be found in Greek, Norse and Celtic folk stories and mythology. 

With the apple being associated with knowledge and wisdom it makes an obvious choice as a gift for students to give to teachers. 

Below are some examples of artwork which features apples in this context.

Theory #2: Apples Were Once Given As A Form Of Payment For Education

The second theory which aims to answer the question, why do students give teachers apples? is based on apples being used as a form of payment for education. 

There are historic records in North America and Scandinavia that apples were given to teachers as a form of payment for their education. 

This would have either been due to the family’s low income and inability to pay for their child’s education with money, or as a way of topping up the teacher’s typically low salary.

Many families would have had very little money and offering  basket of apples instead of money would have been more manageable and practical for these families. 

Teaching was often a very low paid profession and often undertaken by single females, so a basket of apples may have been offered to a teacher as additional support.

The long summer break which is common in most western schooling systems was originally to allow students and teachers time away from school to help their families and communities with the summer harvest. 

Following the summer harvest, the students would have returned to school and this would have been the point at which apples were gifted to teachers.

Apples are ready for picking between August and October which coincides with many students return to school following the summer break. 

The timing of this may be another reason why apples were the preferred fruit of choice for teachers.

However, historical records from North America and Scandinavia also indicate that apples were not the only food types gifted to teachers. 

There is even a case of potatoes being given to teachers. 

I think we should be pleased that apples have the crown here as what teacher wants to have a potato on their desk?

Why Do Students Give Teachers Apples

Why Are Teachers Given Apples And Not A Different Fruit?

There are a number of reasons why apples are the fruit of choice for teachers:

  1. Apples are a symbol of knowledge and wisdom (as explained above) and are therefore a fitting gift for a teacher. 
  2. The school year often begins at the end of summer/start of autumn (fall), and it is at this time of year that apples are ready for picking. So, the time of year is certainly a factor. 
  3. Apples are a hardy fruit and will last for a longer period of time compared to many other fruit types. 
  4. Apples are a versatile fruit which can be consumed in many different ways: as a snack, in pies or to make cider.
  5. Apples are relatively easy to grow and apple trees tend to be plentiful making them a fruit which can be grown and picked in higher volumes.
  6. There have been many health claims associated with apples which makes them a gift with good intentions attached.

Author: Jonathan Sandling