Why do we give apples to teachers?

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 why?
  • 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. 
  • 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.

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!