Apples are seen as a symbol of growth, change and variety. From their seeds, the mightiest groves sprout. If left on the ground, with no support or care, they rot and change into something bitter and undesirable. They are green, red, yellow; sour, sweet, tangy.
Is a teacher not an apple? We inspire growth in our students, creating doctors, lawyers and, yes, other teachers. If we are left by ourselves, without support or love, we become bitter and mean–unable to guide those who look to us for guidance. And for every teacher who teaches a lesson the “right” way, there is a thousand more who teach it a different “right” way.
A friend of mine remembers learning that the tradition of giving a teacher an apple started around the 1700s. Apples were a treasure for there were times when the harvest was slim and apples were prized for their sweetness and versatility. When a new teacher was introduced to the community, an apple was given to show appreciation and was meant as a wish for the teacher’s continued good health.