Abstract: The purpose of this study is to examine English as a second language (ESL) teachers' sensitivity to their students' social-cultural backgrounds and the kind of constraints they face as they translate sociocultural perspectives into practice. Through both quantitative (questionnaire surveys) and qualitative (interviews) analysis, the study reports how 73 middle and high school teachers in Los Angeles related their own pedagogical practices to the social-cultural experiences of their students. This researcher analyzed the quantitative data using descriptive statistics while qualitative data analysis was carried out using the framework of critical rejlexivity. Results showed that the teachers in the study were aware of and sensitive to the crucial role of their students' background experiences. However, the teachers pointed to institutional barriers and other constraints that have practical impacts on their sociocultural practices and outcomes.