The paper explores teachers’ endorsement of pastoral care, based on their socially and historically developed and interactively shaped understandings of teacher care, and how it surfaces in their practices. Participants are 25 academics in a self-financing teaching-oriented college in Hong Kong, in which teachers are also academic advisors for an assigned number of students and professional counselling is provided as another form of student support. The study identified three groups of teachers regarding their endorsement and enactment of pastoral care, namely, the supporters who are the overwhelming majority, the opponents and the bystanders. The author suggests that the relatively high level of endorsement and enactment of pastoral care found among the participants can be explained by its institutional, societal and cultural contexts. Implications of encouraging and facilitating teachers taking pastoral care as shared responsibility with professional counsellors in higher education are discussed. Copyright © 2022 Taylor & Francis.