Laura Buchan


Commissioning Editor, Secondary ELT

Overseeing the development of materials and digital resources  for teens, Laura speaks about how time teaching in Mexico led her to apply her passion for teaching into publishing. Read about how Laura keeps connected with her Latin American markets and how she draws creative inspiration from those around her.

Laura believes education is… advancement

About me:

I joined Macmillan three and a half years ago after returning from teaching English in a university in Yucatan, Mexico.  At that time I was still very much in two minds about whether to stay or to continue living the EFL dream on the other side of the Atlantic, but the minute I saw this job I knew it would be perfect for me. Before EFL teaching I had worked as an educational support worker, a literacy mentor for teens, and an exams  developer for TOEIC, so educational publishing seemed the ideal ‘next step’ to put my passion for teaching and learning into practice.

Having taught learners of all ages from primary through to adult, and from different cultures and backgrounds, I have a lot of happy memories of the classroom. I think learning is a two-way process between teacher and student, and I’m particularly grateful to all my students in Mexico for giving me such an insight into their culture. I still try to keep that Latin American connection as much as possible in London – speaking Spanish, watching Latin cinema, cooking Mexican cuisine and dancing salsa! It’s great to feel in close contact with one of our key markets and keep up-to-date with their interests and influences.

What I do at Macmillan:

I’m the Commissioning Editor for International Secondary courses. There’s a lot to learn about our different British English markets and publishing for teens. My job is to oversee the development of a course from the initial idea right through to the final product. A complete course usually takes around three years to produce and in that time we do extensive research to find out what our markets need, work closely with our authors and editors to create the content and collaborate with designers, photographers, film makers and software developers to bring this vision to life. 

Depending on what stage you’re at in a project you could be travelling to a school, meeting an author, attending an audio recording, or deciding on your course design. The role is very deadline-driven as it’s really important that we get our products to teachers in time for the new school year. The work is always creative and interesting though – we’re continuously thinking of how we can deliver customer-tailored solutions and produce content that is engaging and relevant.  

At the moment I’m overseeing and developing material for several digital components. It’s quite a different way of working to print publishing – I’m really enjoying being involved in all the new and exciting technological developments that are happening in language teaching and learning at the moment. It’s a wonderful thing to see the vision of the team in London realised in classrooms around the world.

The best thing about my job:

For me the best part of my job is the opportunity to collaborate with so many creative people from authors, film makers and designers to teachers, consultants, and reps on the ground. You learn so much by drawing on their knowledge and experience. And of course I can’t forget the team here. It’s not often that you get to work with such a broad-minded, well-travelled and dedicated bunch!