A common stereotype of schools is the Teacher's Pet giving the teacher a shiny red apple as a token of appreciation. Sometimes it's given to them directly in front of the whole class, or it can be placed on the teacher's desk in secret and anonymously.
A common variation is the class clown (or, conversely, the class bully) giving an apple with a worm inside to gross them out. A variation of this variation is to play a joke on the teacher by giving them an apple with gummie worm candies inside. Another common variation is for the student to give the teacher a chocolate-dipped, candy-coated apple as a Halloween, Christmas, and/or Valentine's Day gift (this works best during the winter, as the heat of the warmer summer, late spring, and early fall temperatures would cause the chocolate coating to melt). Further variations include giving the teacher apple pie, apple cider, or apple-flavored ice cream and/or frozen yogurt instead of actual regular apples in their purest traditional form.
Sometimes some other type of fruits appear as yet another variation, best if it's traditional fruit from the kids' (or their parents') gardens like pears or plums. Apples, pears and plums are traditionally harvested in autumn, which makes them ideal gifts for teachers at the beginning of the school year. The trope seems to originate in a rule or a law from some communities: the village or town and its people were responsible for providing food for their local teacher.
Giving the teacher plain, traditional apples is now somewhat of a Discredited Trope, but the apple is still strongly associated with teachers (at least those teaching in elementary schools).
- Variant in a commercial for Cocoa Krispies cereal. One of the students, a monkey, brings his teacher a banana instead of an apple. He also gets the highest grade on a test, as she notes:
Teacher: "One of you managed a B." (looks out at them) "The short kid who brought in that nice banana."
- Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius: Miss Fowl has an apple on her desk. When she gets shrunk down, she does battle with the worm living inside it.
- Pinocchio: When Pinocchio starts for school, Geppetto hands him an apple to give to his teacher. When he encounters Honest John and Gideon, the former eats the apple and gives him back the core.
- Bad Teacher: This is something of an Achilles' Heel to Amy, an enthusiastic but somewhat childish teacher who is seen handing out apples to her students. Elizabeth, the titular bad teacher, exploits the trope and uses this against Amy by slipping an apple onto Amy's desk after rubbing a poison ivy leaf all over it. The next morning, Amy takes a bite and naturally, her skin has a horrible reaction to the poison. Amy gets quarantined from the field trip.
- Bedazzled (2000): When the Devil appears as a Hot Teacher, she has pile of apples on her desk from her horndog students.
- A Christmas Story: Ralphie gives his teacher an entire fruit basket in an attempt get a good grade to butter his parents up with.
Adult Ralphie: Yes, truly, a little bribe never hurts.
- Horse Feathers: When Baravelli and Pinky enter the class, the former gives the professor an apple, while the latter gives him a watermelon.
Wagstaff: Well, all you need now is a bowl of cherries.
- Raiders of the Lost Ark: A student places a green apple on Indy's desk as his class leaves the room.
- Real Genius: Chris hands a red apple to Mr. Kent, who dismissively throws it in the trash. However, it turns out to be a disguised bomb.
- Sideways Stories from Wayside School: The villainous Mrs. Gorf has the power to turn her students into apples, and she'll use it on them for any offense. She meets her demise when the students find a way to use her power against her, and she ends up being eaten by the yard teacher (who thinks it's an ordinary apple brought to her as a gift).
- I Wish That I Had Duck Feet: The book revolves around a boy fantasizing about having the body parts of different animals. In one scene, he thinks that antlers will be useful for carrying things, including apples for his teacher.
- Professor Branestawm: In "An Apple for the Teacher", the Professor's housekeeper's sister Aggie's little girl Esme decides she wants to take her teacher an apple after reading that kids in America do so. The teacher doesn't like apples, but she's too polite to refuse and figures she can give it to her brother. Unfortunately the idea soon spreads to all of Esme's classmates... then the whole school... then every school in Pagwell, resulting in chaos as the shops start running out of apples, while the schools are accumulating thousands of them. An attempt to solve both problems at once the obvious way creates a new problem, as soon the same apples are being circulated round and round until they rot; the Professor tries to solve this problem by inventing lifelike plastic apples, but this also creates a new problem as people occasionally want to, you know, eat apples. Then the problem abruptly goes away by itself as the kids get bored with the apple thing and decide they're not doing it any more. The adults breathe a collective sigh of relief... and then Esme takes an orange to school for the teacher.
- In All That, One student tries to be a teacher's pet by giving the teacher an apple. Another student tries to upstage him by giving her an apple tree.
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Doppelgangland" begins with Percy and Snyder browbeating Willow into tutoring Percy on his homework assignment on President Roosevelt (for tutoring, read "Willow doing it for him"). Then Percy meets Vampire Willow in the Bronze. The episode ends with Percy handing Willow file after file of work, double the amount required (turns out there were two President Roosevelts), and topping it all off with an apple.
- In one Gilligan's Island episode, Gilligan, telling a random story to the Skipper, mentions one of his classmates getting in trouble for giving the teacher an apple. The exasperated Skipper says getting in trouble for that doesn't happen, whereupon Gilligan clarifies that the apple was wormy.
- Grange Hill: Played with when Trisha Yates tries to teach her fellow pupil Simon Shaw to read. She quips that as his teacher, he has to call her Miss Yates, and bring an apple for her.
- iCarly: In "iSpy a Mean Teacher", a student tries to give Ms. Briggs a grapefruit that he grew especially for her. She slaps it out of his hand and snarls "I hate citrus fruit!"
- Once Upon a Time: In the premiere episode, Mary Margaret Blanchard (the former Snow White banished to the real world with Fake Memories) receives a pear from one of her students. According to a later episode, Mary Margaret doesn't like apples for reasons she has never been able to pin down.
- A.P. Bio: The main character is an aggressively Apathetic Teacher who is often shown eating an apple. His first act upon getting to the class each day is to tell his students, "Start shutting up now!" and tossing his half-eaten core at the trash can (usually missing). The poster for the show has him biting into an apple.
- An education building's grade (read: efficiency) in Simcity 4 is represented by an apple symbol. Zero apple symbols mean your schools suck, 5 apple symbols mean they're second to none.
- Scribblenauts: In all stages that require giving a teacher an item for their classroom, one of the accepted objects is an apple.
- Baby Huey: In Pest Pupil, a teacher is given apples by her students, but Huey gives her a pumpkin instead, crushing the apples and getting her face full of applesauce.
- Classic Disney Shorts: In Teachers Are People, Goofy is a schoolteacher who has his students hand him apples as a homework assignment, and is miffed when he catches the class delinquent eating his homework. Later, he is seen eating the apples for lunch while his students are at recess.
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: In "Smarten Up!", when Billy's cat Milkshakes, possessed by a "book worm", takes it upon himself to tutor him. Billy gives him an apple, which touches Milkshakes until he find a worm in it.
- Hey Arnold!: In "Student Teacher", Helga tries to get Olga sick by leaving an apple with a worm inside on her desk. Unfortunately, it's Mr. Simmons who picks it up.
- Little Bear: In one episode, Little Bear and Emily set up a school for the animals. Early on, the trope is lampshaded, with Emily finding an apple and noting that the teacher usually just sets it on their desk, and is never actually seen eating it.
- The 1937 Disney short Mickey's Amateurs sees Donald Duck trying to bribe radio amateur variety show compere Mickey Mouse with an apple before his recitation of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star". When Mickey bangs a gong to give Donald a Vaudeville Hook after he dries up two words into the second line, Donald takes the apple back.
- The Muppet Babies (1984) episode, "Fozzie's Last Laugh" begins with the babies playing school. Piggy plays the teacher, and Fozzie gives her an apple, which he hid a rubber worm in to prank her with. Fozzie finds this prank funny, but Piggy certainly doesn't.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- Cheerilee's desk is often seen with an apple. It's possible that it came from Apple Bloom.
- Happens metaphorically in "Hearts and Hooves Day," when the Cutie Mark Crusaders try to hook up Cheerilee with Big Macintosh, who has a half-apple for a cutie mark.
- Being a teacher starting in Season 8, Twilight is often given an apple from one of her students.
- In The Powerpuff Girls Christmas Episode, a row of kindergarten students are shown lined up at Miss. Keane's desk, giving her apples wrapped in Christmas bows. She is already shown to have a stack of them on her desk.
- SpongeBob SquarePants:
- In "Boating School", Patrick supplies SpongeBob with an apple to give Mrs. Puff with on the day of his next driving test. He hands it to her and she scarfs it down.
- In "SquidBob TentaclePants," Sandy demonstrates her teleporter by teleporting an apple. It ends up on Mrs. Puff's desk, as she is pleasantly surprised.
- Exaggerated in "Teacher's Pests", when Mr. Krabs and Plankton force-feed Mrs. Puff various fruits to get on her good side. At one point, Plankton pours a bagful of apple seeds down her throat, resulting in an entire apple tree growing from inside her.
- Super Mario World: In "A Little Learning", Yoshi and Oogtar give Princess Toadstool an apple with a caterpillar inside. The two think it's funny (and so do Hip and Hop, which inspires them to go to school against King Koopa's wishes), but the Princess doesn't.
Princess: That wasn't funny, Oogtar! I could have eaten that worm!
- Tex Avery MGM Cartoons: in the Michel Lah-directed Droopy cartoon "Blackboard Jumble", the Droopies give the protagonist an apple outright labeled "apple for teacher"... and from which protrudes a burning wick, so he simply pulls the wick out and takes a bite. A second later, the bite explodes, leaving smoke from his ears. He looks mbfounded at the wick... which explodes too, ashfacing him. Then the apple explodes.
- Ed Eddn Eddy: In the episode Mission Ed Possible. Eddy gives an apple to his unseen math teacher. This is merely a ruse for him to hide his true motive. He and Ed are trying to steal their report cards, which they don't want their parents to see.