TC At Work: Ibrahim Tejan | Teachers College Columbia University

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TC At Work: Ibrahim Tejan

TC At Work: Ibrahim Tejan
Who He Is
A senior public safety officer, Ibrahim Tejan—also known as Teejay—patrols TC from 4:00pm to midnight. In addition to “access control” to TC properties, his duties include working as a lead officer when the lieutenant isn’t available, checking exit doors and stairways and responding to emergency situations. As part of his security duties, Teejay greets all the people, TC community members and visitors alike, who walk through the front doors at 125 W. 120th Street. Teejay is also a certified fire safety director.

Road to TC
When Teejay was growing up, his family divided their time between Alaska, where he was born, and Sierra Leone, where his parents are from. In the early 90s, he decided to move to New York to pursue his love of acting and dance. He was a featured dancer on the hit MTV show The Grind and also scored acting roles on New York Undercover and Law & Order.
Teejay spent three years as a security officer in a private securities firm before arriving at Teachers College in 1997. During his first six months at TC, he worked in the Dean-Hope Center for Educational and Psychological Services. But when he saw the opportunity to join the Public Safety team and work more directly with the wider TC community, he leapt at the chance. “I joined for two reasons,” he says, “the raise and because I am a people person at heart.”

Best Part of the Job
For Teejay, the best part of the job—hands down—is the chance to be of service every day. “TC is the mecca of beautiful minds,” he says. “Students here are influencing other young minds and trying to get to a higher place—helping them is priceless.”
A few years back, Teejay had one such opportunity, when he was stationed at Whittier in the early morning hours and a young female resident came in, tipsy after a night of revelry, accompanied by a young man. As the young woman tried to say goodnight to her persistent date, Teejay noticed her getting upset, because man was being overly persistent in angling for an invitation to stay. “She needed help. I could see it in her spirit,” he says.
When she looked at Teejay for help, Teejay walked over to the young man and gently said, “Why don’t you call her tomorrow?” The young man walked away without incident, and the young woman stopped by a few days later with cookies for Teejay. Over graduation weekend, he saw the young woman at a church event with her mother, who said, “Thank you for protecting my daughter.”
“I live for those moments,” says Teejay.
In His Spare Time
An avid reader, Teejay devours books that support his spiritual path, such as The Alchemist, The Secret and The Twelve Universal Laws of Success. He’s especially interested in understanding the world we live in and the way people view life, in its entirety. He also meditates daily, often before he goes to sleep at night, in preparation for the new day ahead of him.
A music fan, Teejay enjoys all types of music, including jazz, Indian classical, borchata, merengue, hip hop and classical. “Music is a form of therapy,” he says. “I love feeling the energy of the singer, even when I don’t understand the words.”
In addition, he loves to travel, having recently returned from St. Barth’s with his fiancée. He also participates in a summer soccer league.

Did You Know?
Teejay and his fiancée are expecting their first child this summer, which will make him a first-time father. “Someone took great care of me,” Teejay says, “Now, it’s my turn. I’m ready to be a great dad.”

Published Thursday, Mar. 25, 2010


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