From a letter Sylvia Plath wrote to her brother:
and I am to sacrifice my energy, writing and versatile intellectual life for grubbing over 66 Hawthorne papers a week and trying to be articulate in front of a rough class of spoiled bitches…
(qtd in Stevenson).
Any artist knows exactly how Plath feels, especially if she is a beginning teacher. The first three to five years are the worst, especially in high school teaching.
When I began teaching English composition at the university level, it took five semesters before I stopped feeling nervous before each class, and even still the classroom gives me anxiety dreams. But teach I must if I want to earn at least some money!
I went into teaching after receiving a Master’s in Spanish with the hopes of writing poetry and short stories in the afternoons, but obviously that didn’t happen. I was too busy grading and planning to even think about any kind of writing besides in my journal.
And I did not have Plath’s genius nor her frenetic, passionate drive to succeed. I settled into conformity and set my sights on having babies. The down side is that it took me almost 15 years to get back to writing. But here I am, my children in college, and I’m shaping up a manuscript of poems.