Complimenting a superior, whether it be a teacher, boss, or parent, has become almost obsolete because of the brown-nosers. Ass kissing was, in its early and healthy stages, a legitimate tactic in both the workforce and academic fields. It was a tool employed by ambitious yes-men and gentlemen alike.
The kissing of corporate or faculty ass has become so transparent and expected that it is not only almost obsolete in many offices and classrooms, but it is shunned, even by those on the receiving end. Without proper work ethic to prop it up, kissing ass was and is never the respectable way to propel oneself to the top. The kiss was abused by employees and students looking for a free ride, and like a virus that spreads too quickly, the system essentially shut down.
There is a better way…
If you feel close enough with a superior to compliment them, do so. Just ask yourself the following two questions: How are you delivering the message? And more importantly, How are they receiving it?