Does your child leave an apple for the teacher? Is it to wish the teacher good health? (“Ait a happle avore gwain to bed, An’ you’ll make the doctor beg his bread” … later became, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”) Does this account for an “apple-for-the-teacher”?
When the apple first appeared in the American colonies, it was not sweet but bitter; the fruit made great cider in a time when people often did not trust drinking water. Hard cider was a daily drink, commonly used; it was consider the “safe” beverage. Was the “apple-for-the-teacher” to guarantee good health?
Or, perhaps, the apple was given in hope the teacher might be tempted to raise the student’s mark (the Garden of Eden influence)? Bing Crosby once had a hit song, “An Apple for the Teacher” that pushed the polished autumn fruit’s allure. The phrase, “apple-polisher” comes from this approach.
Research, from the Smithsonian Institute, shows that American Frontier families whose children went to schools were responsible for housing, feeding, and providing firewood for the teachers. Students whose families worked orchards and farms would bring bushel baskets of fruit and vegetables to school to support the teacher’s lifestyle. It showed their teacher they had support and appreciation.
Recently, I visited at a family home where a parent was reviewing the naming of every American state, along with its capital city. “Don’t forget, Lansing has no “d” in it”, they said as their child bounded off to bed and they gathered up the papers and mock quiz papers they had created. It occurred to me how much parents do at home to support teachers. There is a lot of “polishing up” of the kids before sending them off to school.
In fact, teachers often remark without parental support at home overlooking the homework process, children are less likely to succeed in school
“We’re all in this… together!”