Staff Profile: Matthew George

By Garnet Education

Matthew George is the Digital Manager at Garnet.

How did you get into Publishing?

Well, I did the classic do-an-English-Lit-degree-and-then-not-know-what-to-do-with-it thing … after uni I went to Japan for what ended up being two years and taught English in private language schools. I loved teaching but I also really liked developing materials for my classes, and that’s when I started to think in terms of a job in ELT publishing. Fifteen years, a CELTA qualification and three editorial jobs in publishing later, here I am, living the ELT dream.

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

I wear several hats (digital manager, materials developer and editor, cheerleader), so my working days vary depending on what projects we have in house at the time and what’s a priority. I exchange a lot of emails with my opposite number at our software developer in India, ironing out any problems and discussing projects. Recently we’ve been working on digitising our Moving Into series, and a lot of time goes into working with my team, creating ‘instructional design’ for that, and in testing learning objects.  Sometimes I’ll be researching topics relating to courses and looking for “hooky” stories that we can incorporate into our materials. I was involved in developing the syllabus for English for Libya, too, and even got to fly out and meet the delegation from their education ministry, which was an amazing experience. So yeah, it varies.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

I love creating new materials – print and digital – that students and teachers are going to get a lot out of. It’s great working in a small team, where we can make new stuff relatively quickly. I think we’re pretty unusual here in that we have digital, editorial, production and design all on the same floor, so we’re all up in each other’s business, which keeps things interesting.

What is your motto?

Do your best and don’t worry. It’s a helpful motto even if I did nick it from a Morrissey song title (Morrissey was kind of a hero of mine until it turned out that he was a bigoted fool).

What is your favourite word/ idiom? Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

My favourite word is quockerwodger.

I start too many sentences with the word “so”. (My own mother pointed this out to me). I use the verb “smash” interchangeably with most other verbs. Occasionally I start using nasty corporate jargon ironically and then end up just using it in meetings. I had to restrain myself from talking about ‘helicoptering’ (i.e. overseeing multiple projects from distance) in this very profile.

Which living person do you most admire?

It’s a cliché but  … nurses, care workers, those guys that don’t get talked about but make life bearable for so many people. And Bob Dylan, the greatest songwriter that ever lived. Fact.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

When I was very small – a carpenter. And later, an environmental engineer. Neither worked out for me.

What was the last book you read that you’d recommend?

I’m reading a lot of Malcolm Gladwell’s stuff at the moment. Really tight, well researched, thought-provoking writing. And Staying Alive which is an anthology of poems, for dipping in and out of.

A fact about yourself most people wouldn’t know?

I have one leg longer than the other.