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The tradition seems to have been born from practicality, then nurtured by happy coincidences working in concert sometime between and , with an earlyth century prologue.

Apples and teachers: why the association?

To answer the question is to create the sort of messily insane, pieced-together timeline you see on police procedurals, its various dots connected with red string. This story begins with John Chapman, a. Johnny Appleseed—probably not all that shocking, considering this story is about apples in the 19th century.

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While the non-native apple had been transplanted from England with the first settlers back in the early s, it was the efforts of Chapman and fellow settlers to the Northwest Territory in the early s that ushered in the ubiquity of the apple throughout the country. Early-American apple trees were usually grown from seeds, not grafted, which results in bitter or sour fruit not suitable for eating.

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As such, those apples were mainly used for making hard cider. Those early Americans were also really into growing, cataloging, and experimenting with fruit, and apples in particular. Ragan, the author cites more than 14, varieties of apples that were grown in the United States in that year span. By comparison, approximately varieties are commercially grown today.

Teacher uses two APPLES to explain the damaging effects of bullying to children | Daily Mail Online

As to what happened to the other 13,, we must look to the Second and Third Wave Temperance movements. The apple was now publicized as a healthy food for eating, not just for drinking. Within this same timeframe, another progressive movement was gaining momentum: education reforms. By , all states had public elementary schools, and by , every state required children to complete an elementary education. Even before these reforms, there was a tradition, passed down from life on the frontier, of giving the teacher food in return for their services.

So why apples and not, say, a pear—or beef jerky?

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  • No one seems to know for sure. But the fact that autumn became the national standard as the start of the school year, with more students than ever reporting in the peak apple season of September—along with their being cheap, universally available, easily portable, nationally beloved, and newly decreed as healthy—grabbing an apple for the teacher seems like an obvious choice.

    So, they make a better gift.

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    So that is how apples became popular gifts for teachers. And giving apples to teachers became a way of trying to curry favor with them. To curry someone's favor means you try to win them over by giving them something. You know, if you often give your teacher an apple, he or she may look kindly on you when they grade your next test. And if that apple is a beautiful, shiny one Not only does an apple-polisher bring in an apple to get better treatment from the teacher, they also keep it nice and shiny. This makes sure it will be the most beautiful apple on the teacher's desk! We use this as a noun and a verb. When you apple-polish, you use gifts or say nice things to improve your situation. We have other words that mean the same thing.

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    We also call this type of person a kiss-up, toady or boot-licker. Another popular one is teacher's pet.

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    It is an apple-polisher's dream to become the teacher's pet — much to the anger of fellow classmates. And that's the end of this Words and Their Stories. Until next time I'm Anna Matteo. Gettysburg Address — n. VOA Standard English. Update Required To play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin.

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    • The fruit of apple trees is a popular food in many countries. For example, you can be the apple of someone's eye , meaning the most loved.