Teaching and learning: A family affair
It’s “all in the family” when it comes to teaching and learning for the Wagners.
Dr. Taffy Wagner is a personal finance expert and health care advocate. She’s been “teaching on money in some capacity” for over a decade. Dr. Taffy was raised by a single parent and believes her first-hand experience helps her reach people who are struggling with money management, whether it’s how to financially prepare for marriage, how to get out of debt, or how to buy a house. She also teaches in-person seminars on the Affordable Care Act and turned to the Udemy platform to expand her reach globally.
Dr. Taffy is a lifelong learner through and through. “I love to learn,” she shares, “Udemy has helped fulfill that passion in ways I never imagined.” She has a laundry list of impressive degrees: a doctorate of ministry in biblical counseling, master’s degree in human resource management, bachelor’s degree in business admin/management, associate degree in paralegal studies and an associate degree in administration. For Dr. Taffy, this diverse background weaves together what she loves most. “My education has helped me help a lot of people,” she says.
Dr. Taffy shares this love of learning with her children. Thirteen year-old twins, Erica and Cody are already Udemy instructors, best-selling authors, and “YouTubers.” Dr. Taffy decided long before she had Erica and Cody that they would be home-schooled. A big believer in hands-on applications, she focuses on teaching them “things they wouldn’t have the opportunity to learn in traditional school.” She includes the twins in many of her business activities because she knows they’ll need these fundamental skills as adults — things like how to give a presentation and hold an intelligent conversation with other adults — and believes it’s important to teach them early.
As part of this hands-on approach, Erica and Cody got involved in creating Udemy courses. They already knew about Udemy through Dr. Taffy’s courses. Cody even created a microphone stand for her out of his Legos. Once they turned 13, they both expressed interest in creating their own courses, and Dr. Taffy let them run with it. “Many of my friends have kids that play Minecraft, but the parents have no idea what it is,” she explains. “I told them that they had to create all of the content and they managed to knock it out in a week!” The result? A course entitled, “How to Play Minecraft for Parents – Play with Your Kids,” which landed them a spot on the local Denver news.
“The process of creating and marketing a Udemy course is a unique experience in being a business person and a teacher at the same time,” says Dr. Taffy. “As adults, most of us either create products and services or sell them. This experience is teaching them how to do both.” They all agree the most challenging part of creating a course is putting yourself in the mindset of somebody who knows nothing about the subject, which can be difficult when you’re a teenage expert. “It also challenges you to think chronologically about everything. When you’re teaching you can’t miss a step or the whole message is lost,” they explain.
Never hold back
The Wagners would definitely encourage other kids to create Udemy courses on topics they’re interested in. Dr. Taffy says, “Don’t hold your kids back, it’s amazing what they can accomplish if you let them go for it.” Erica is very interested in graphic design, programming, and science, specifically dinosaurs. She published her second course on photo editing, which she learned entirely on her own. Cody, on the other hand, is an car fanatic and wants to be the CEO of Dodge one day. First step: a Udemy course on automotive care.
In regards to their unique approach to education Dr. Taffy shares, “We’re different; everything is fun. I think it can be an inspiration to see that it doesn’t just have to be done one way or done the way it’s always been done. I hope we can serve as a reminder that people don’t have to be boxed in.”