An Interview with Narrative 4 Community Partner, MiShaune Blanks

This month, to celebrate International Women’s History Month, we’ve asked our staff to nominate some of the amazing women working within the Narrative 4 community, to uplift their work and express our sincere appreciation for their commitment to N4’s core beliefs. These women truly embody compassionate change-making in the world and are doing the work to build support and connection in their communities.

MiShaune is a kindergarten teacherin the Boston public school system; she is passionate about early childhood education and believes that social-emotional learning is foundational to building equitable education systems. MiShaune has brought these strengths to her classroom, where she applies both to building nurturing environments for learning. MiShaune’s kindergarten students have successfully participated in numerous Story Exchanges, lending further proof that perspective-taking can be impactful and engaging, even with young children. She has committed to integrating N4 practices into her classroom by providing students with activities to practice deep listening and storytelling, two devices that are proven to increase empathy. For this reason, we are honored to feature MiShaune for Women’s History Month.

In conversation with MiShaune

1.What’s the most important thing we should know about you?

Since childhood, I aspired to become a kindergarten teacher. That passion led me to attending a vocational school, where I gained invaluable experience teaching preschool aged children. I strongly believe in the significance of social-emotional learning, particularly in the early years of education. Passionate about my work, I am dedicated to fostering a nurturing environment where children can thrive emotionally and academically. I consider myself a life long learner, continuously seeking new ways to enhance the educational experience for my students. 

2. What excites you about the work of Narrative 4? What drew you to this work? Why does it matter?

When I first learned about Narrative 4, I felt excited about the possibility of using storytelling as a tool for building relationships and creating a sense of community. What drew me to this work was the stories of how students learned the power of deep listening and the importance in sharing their own stories. I believe that this work has helped my students to see each other in a new light. I saw firsthand how storytelling can help us to understand each other better and foster a sense of understanding, care and compassion. 

3. Can you share a brief story about a time when your work with N4 felt especially impactful? (i.e. an experience with an exemplary partner, a lesson learned, a favorite Story Exchange or Artist event, etc.)

My first ever time leading a story exchange/ art exchange with my students felt the most  impactful. It was truly amazing to see how storytelling brought my students together in such a powerful way. As young children, they were able to empathize with each other, share their vulnerabilities, and provide support to one another in a way that I had never seen before. It was a beautiful reminder of the importance of storytelling and the impact it can have on building connections and fostering empathy. 

Read our interviews with other nominees and participate in our International Women’s History month campaign here!