The turn toward “practice” in teacher education, while controversial, has become a reality for many programs that prepare pre-service teachers for state licensure. This conceptual paper argues that while many people link teacher quality to educational equity, a focus on discrete teaching practices alone is insufficient to address inequitable outcomes in schooling. In addition to developing pre-service teachers to be critically conscious of the contexts in which their work is embedded, I contend that pre-service teachers may also benefit from contextualizing prescribed teaching practices themselves. Using examples from essential “elements” for teaching in the state of Massachusetts, I demonstrate two ways that required practices are themselves ideological and sociopolitical manifestations. By highlighting the ideological and sociopolitical discourse embedded within elements of effective teaching practice, teacher educators have the potential to prepare pre-service teachers to become critical consumers of practice.