Professional pedagogical responsibility (PPR) for teachers does not only mean to meet deadlines or attend meetings, but also to be conscious of how their actions can contribute to challenging inequities in society. Thus, it is imperative that teachers of English embrace the responsibility of teaching English as a tool to promote social justice. This article reports on a qualitative study to understand how seven pre-service teachers developed a sense of PPR and to what extent participants’ discourse revealed a sense of social justice. Data were collected through a number of semi-structured interviews that required participants to reflect on different practicum experiences and expectations for their future work as teachers of English. The results demonstrated different degrees of PPR ranging from resistance to high levels of agency. These different degrees were shaped by personal drives such as preservice teachers’ motives for teaching English, but also by social and contextual factors such as expectations and requirements of the practicum. The outcomes also suggested that most preservice teachers were unaware of their role as change agents. The paper concludes with implications on how the integration of a social justice perspective in initial English language teacher education programmes can strengthen their professional responsibility.