For actors, especially student actors, the monologue is a staple exercise. Monologues are used as an exercise so that student actors, and I suppose actors in general, can build character development skills. Monologues are often used as audition pieces as well.
When I teach the introduction to drama classes that I have developed, I always incorporate a monologue unit into the class. I have developed two introductory drama classes. One focuses on performance and the other has a bit more of a focus on creating and writing.
In the performance focused class, I always have students prepare a monologue from my exhaustive pile of resources. I urge them to read several and play with several before they choose the one they will perform. This exploration process is important, as it exposes my students to several monologues instead of just one or two. I set aside class time for this process so that homework time management doesn’t interfere with the process.
In the class that focuses more on writing, I have students choose a topic to focus on and then they write their own monologue. Students in this class are always required to take the performance class as a prerequisite, so they have been exposed to many examples of monologues when they are finally challenged to write one. We discuss length and structure. I have students spend time working with peers for feedback as well.
I also share with students my own writing. I think it is important as an educator to model for students whenever possible. I have one of my monologues published on my Hubpages site. I may move it here in the future, but for now you can read it by clicking here. It is titled “What a Day!” It is a depiction of the day in the life of a high school student. Feel free to use this monologue as a class exercise or for performance.